WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 – The Occupy movement is spending the day focusing on what we eat and how it is produced.
More than 60 Occupy groups and 30 environmental, food and corporate accountability organizations have joined together for Occupy our Food Supply, a global day of action “resisting the corporate control” of food systems.
In the United States alone, approximately 100 separate events are scheduled, ranging from hosting seed exchanges in front of stock exchanges, to planting gardens on vacant lots in inner cities, to identifying GM foods in grocery stores with stickers, to protests outside facilities owned by Cargill and Monsanto. Similar activities are planned in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, India and Mexico.
Cargill said it was aware that its operations had been targeted and that appropriate precautions were being taken to prevent business disruptions. Attempts to reach Monsanto for comment were unsuccessful.
Unlike Occupy Wall Street, mainstream news outlets haven’t picked up on Occupy our Food Supply. Media coverage so far has been primarily limited to activist blogs and it is unclear how much, if any, impact the groups will have.
The central theme uniting what organizers say will be “thousands of people” who will take part in Occupy our Food Supply is a shared sense of urgency to resist the corporate consolidation of food systems and create socially and environmentally just solutions.
“Food is a fantastic lens for us to really examine a lot of elements in our society,” Hillary Lehr, grassroots action manager at Rainforest Action Network, the facilitator of Occupy our Food Supply, said in an interview with Agri-Pulse.
“People are basically self-organizing in their own groups to take action and reclaim our food system for the benefit of people on the planet versus the corporate model of doing so for profit,” according to Lehr, who added “It is also showing how there are so many organizations who have been doing work to change the way that food is grown, sold and how our workers in the food chain are treated.”
Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites are being used to spread the message.
Several of the events scheduled in California will be used to gather signatures on a petition for a statewide GMO labeling initiative to be placed on the November ballot. There and elsewhere, food activists plan to hand out pamphlets to shoppers that provide tips on how to identify processed products containing GM ingredients.
In addition to Occupy groups, other participating organizations include Food Democracy Now, Food First, National Family Farm Coalition, Pesticide Action Network and the Organic Consumers Association.
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