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SpikeSilverback
09-09-2009, 11:13 AM
Truncated article. Get all of Wendell Berry's comments at the link below.

Spike

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090906_food_is_power_and_the_powerful_are_poison ing_us/

>Posted on Sep 6, 2009
>
>By Chris Hedges
>
>Our most potent political weapon is food. If we
>take back our agriculture, if we buy and raise
>produce locally, we can begin to break the grip
>of corporations that control a food system as
>fragile, unsafe and destined for collapse as our
>financial system. If we continue to allow
>corporations to determine what we eat, as well
>as how food is harvested and distributed, then
>we will become captive to rising prices and
>shortages and increasingly dependent on cheap,
>mass-produced food filled with sugar and fat.
>Food, along with energy, will be the most
>pressing issue of our age. And if we do not
>build alternative food networks soon, the social
>and political ramifications of shortages and
>hunger will be devastating.
>
>The effects of climate change, especially with
>widespread droughts in Australia, Africa,
>California and the Midwest, coupled with the
>rising cost of fossil fuels, have already
>blighted the environments of millions. The poor
>can often no longer afford a balanced diet.
>Global food prices increased an average of 43
>percent since 2007, according to the
>International Monetary Fund. These increases
>have been horrific for the approximately 1
>billion people-one-sixth of the world's
>population-who subsist on less than $1 per day.
>And 162 million of these people survive on less
>than 50 cents per day. The global poor spend as
>much as 60 percent of their income on food,
>according to theInternational Food Policy
>Research Institute.
>
>There have been food riots in many parts of the
>world, including Austria, Hungary, Mexico,
>Namibia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Yemen, Mauritania,
>Senegal and Uzbekistan. Russia and Pakistan have
>introduced food rationing. Pakistani troops
>guard imported wheat. India has banned the
>export of rice, except for high-end basmati. And
>the shortages and price increases are being felt
>in the industrialized world as we continue to
>shed hundreds of thousands of jobs and food
>prices climb. There are 33.2 million Americans,
>or one in nine, who depend on food stamps. And
>in 20 states as many as one in eight are on the
>food stamp program, according to the Food
>Research Center. The average monthly benefit was
>$113.87 per person, leaving many, even with
>government assistance, without adequate food.
>The USDA says 36.2 million Americans, or 11
>percent of households, struggle to get enough
>food, and one-third of them have to sometimes
>skip or cut back on meals. Congress allocated
>some $54 billion for food stamps this fiscal
>year, up from $39 billion last year. In the new
>fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, costs will be $60
>billion, according to estimates.
>
>Food shortages have been tinder for social
>upheaval throughout history. But this time
>around, because we have lost the skills to feed
>and clothe ourselves, it will be much harder for
>most of us to become self-sustaining. The large
>agro-businesses have largely wiped out small
>farmers. They have poisoned our soil with
>pesticides and contaminated animals in filthy
>and overcrowded stockyards with high doses of
>antibiotics and steroids. They have pumped
>nutrients and phosphorus into water systems,
>causing algae bloom and fish die-off in our
>rivers and streams. Crop yields, under the
>onslaught of changing weather patterns and
>chemical pollution, are declining in the
>Northeast, where a blight has nearly wiped out
>the tomato crop. The draconian Food
>Modernization Safety Act, another gift from our
>governing elite to corporations, means small
>farms will only continue to dwindle in number.
>Sites such as La Via Campesinado a good job of
>tracking these disturbing global trends.
>
>"The entire economy built around food is unsafe
>and unethical," activist Henry Harris of the
>Food Security Roundtabletold me. The group
>builds distribution systems between independent
>farmers and city residents.
>
>"Food is the greatest place for communities to
>start taking back power," he said. "The national
>food system is collapsing by degrees. More than
>50 percent of what we eat comes from the Central
>Valley of California. What happens when gasoline
>becomes $5 a gallon or drought sweeps across the
>cropland? The monolithic system of food
>production is highly unstable. It has to be
>replaced very soon with small, diverse sources
>that provide greater food security."
>
>Cornell University recently did a study to
>determine whether New York state could feed
>itself. The research is described in two
>articles published in 2006 and 2008 by the
>journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.
>If all agricultural land were in use, and food
>distribution were optimized to minimize the
>total distance that food travels, New York state
>could, the researchers found, have 34 percent of
>its food needs met from within its boundaries.
>This is not encouraging news to those who live
>in New York City. New York once relied on New
>Jersey, still known as the Garden State, instead
>of having food shipped from across the country.
>But New Jersey farms have largely given way to
>soulless housing developments. Farming
>communities upstate, their downtowns boarded up
>and desolate, have been gutted by industrial
>farming.
>
>The ties most Americans had to rural communities
>during the Great Depression kept many alive. A
>barter economy replaced the formal economy.
>Families could grow food or had relatives to
>feed them. But in a world where we do not know
>where our food comes from, or how to produce it,
>we have become vulnerable. And many will be
>forced, as food prices continue to rise, to
>shift to a diet of cheap, fatty, mass-produced
>foods, already a staple of the nation's poor.
>Junk food, a major factor in obesity, diabetes
>and heart disease, is often the only food those
>in the inner city can buy because supermarkets
>and nutritious food are geographically and
>financially beyond reach. As the economy
>continues to deteriorate, the middle class will
>soon join them.
>
>"It is clear to anyone who looks carefully at
>any crowd that we are wasting our bodies exactly
>as we are wasting our land," Wendell Berry
>observed in "The Unsettling of America." "Our
>bodies are fat, weak, joyless, sickly, ugly, the
>virtual prey of the manufacturers of medicine
>and cosmetics. Our bodies have become marginal;
>they are growing useless like our 'marginal
>land' because we have less and less use for
>them. After the games and idle flourishes of
>modern youth, we use them only as shipping
>cartons to transport our brains and our few
>employable muscles back and forth to work."
>
>Berry, who lives on a farm in Kentucky where his
>family has farmed for generations, argues that
>local farming is fundamental to sustaining
>communities. Industrial farming, he says, has
>estranged us from the land. It has rendered us
>powerless to provide for ourselves. It has left
>us complicit in the corporate destruction of the
>ecosystem. Its moral cost, Berry argues, has
>been as devastating as its physical cost.
>

recdoctor
09-10-2009, 05:45 PM
The country with the food wins

Another Texan
09-10-2009, 07:03 PM
And the water.

Another Texan
09-10-2009, 11:02 PM
Spike, with so much important info to share I'm wondering when you'll be giving talks at the local library annex or some similar free venue. We apparently are so woefully ignorant that only your enlightened comments will save us all. Please save us from ourselves and others that know all!

Born Here
09-11-2009, 08:19 PM
Another Texan, just wondering why you responded to a quoted article in the manner you did. Obviously, you aren't aware of Wendell VBerry's writing-he is an incredible voice for the common man and farmer. He farms a small place in Kentucky with draft horses and has written incredible things over the years. I started with The Theft of the Commons which is quite an eye opener.
Read more before you make comments like that, Spike is just attempting to share a powerful truth.

Another Texan
09-12-2009, 07:50 AM
Spike repeatedly comes off as extremely arrogant and posts in a condescending tone. Should SSback truly wish to inform versus berate then the message may gain more acceptance and appreciation.

Many folks around here are actively trying to produce enough food for themselves and others, some even realize that before long the taken for granted cheap food from California will literally dry up. Working with the land and nature is not easy and having someone continually griping that you aren't doing it right is no help.

Spike's approach is reminiscent of how old worlders treated indigenous persons for centuries... you know nothing, your ways are no good, you must do things the way we say as there is only one right way ~ ours.

The issue here is not with the message, it's the messenger.

JET
09-12-2009, 08:18 AM
Another Texan, just wondering why you responded to a quoted article in the manner you did. Obviously, you aren't aware of Wendell VBerry's writing-he is an incredible voice for the common man and farmer. He farms a small place in Kentucky with draft horses and has written incredible things over the years. I started with The Theft of the Commons which is quite an eye opener.
Read more before you make comments like that, Spike is just attempting to share a powerful truth.

Wasting your words. She know everything about everything. Just ask. Back to the subject. The Theft of the Commons is a real eye opener.

Murphette
09-12-2009, 11:52 AM
Thank merciful heaven, if there is powerful truth out there, none of us are dependent on just one person to carry it to us.