Willie Nelson: Occupy the Food System; Farmers march on Wall Street (videos)

On Dec. 4, farmers marched on Wall Street. Here’s one video of a speech by Jim Gerritsen, an organic Maine farmer, who discusses the class action lawsuit against Monsanto, and a more recent piece by singer-songwriter, Willie Nelson:

Occupy the Food System

By Willie Nelson,
Reader Supported News

Thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement, there’s a deeper understanding about the power that corporations wield over the great majority of us. It’s not just in the financial sector, but in all facets of our lives. The disparity between the top 1 percent and everyone else has been laid bare – there’s no more denying that those at the top get their share at the expense of the 99 percent. Lobbyists, loopholes, tax breaks… how can ordinary folks expect a fair shake?

No one knows this better than family farmers, whose struggle to make a living on the land has gotten far more difficult since corporations came to dominate our farm and food system. We saw signs of it when Farm Aid started in 1985, but corporate control of our food system has since exploded.

From seed to plate, our food system is now even more concentrated than our banking system. Most economic sectors have concentration ratios hovering around 40 percent, meaning that the top four firms in the industry control 40 percent of the market. Anything beyond this level is considered “highly concentrated,” where experts believe competition is severely threatened and market abuses are likely to occur.

Many key agricultural markets like soybeans and beef exceed the 40 percent threshold, meaning the seeds and inputs that farmers need to grow our crops come from just a handful of companies. Ninety-three percent of soybeans and 80 percent of corn grown in the United States are under the control of just one company. Four companies control up to 90 percent of the global trade in grain. Today, three companies process more than 70 percent of beef in the U.S.; four companies dominate close to 60 percent of the pork and chicken markets.

Our banks were deemed too big to fail, yet our food system’s corporations are even bigger. Their power puts our entire food system at stake. Last year the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Justice (DOJ) acknowledged this, hosting a series of workshops that examined corporate concentration in our farm and food system. Despite the hundreds of thousands of comments from farmers and eaters all over the country, a year later the USDA and DOJ have taken no action to address the issue. Recent decisions in Washington make clear that corporate lobbyists have tremendous power to maintain the status quo.

Read more at Reader Supported News

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More videos from the Dec. 4 Farmers March on Wall Street:

5 responses to “Willie Nelson: Occupy the Food System; Farmers march on Wall Street (videos)

  1. Pingback: In case you blinked & missed it… « thegreenmanweblog

  2. ABOUT TIME! MONSANTO ARE EVIL

  3. until the major news outlets have the courage to fulfill their real obligation as providers of important,unbiased ,fact-based information rather than allow themselves to be willing slaves to the garbage that control all aspects of corporate america,there will continue to be a generally ignorant population that doesn’t realize that their overall health and well being is being compromised for the sake of profit.I try on a daily basis to inform people around me of the rampant,unregulated use of pesticides and herbicides and the indisputable side effects(cancer,neuro disease etc..)The most common response is “if the stuff wasn’t safe,the government would never allow it to be used”or “if it were so dangerous we would have heard about it on the news ! “I am not sure if i should laugh or cry !! As a former licenced pesticide and herbicide technician,I can speak with some experience.most of the public is unaware of products like”round up proof” genetically modified corn that allows corporate farms to dump glyphosate on huge tracts of land with complete disregard of the drift onto surrounding land,contamination of organic farms and the inevitable leaching into the drinking water. While grassroots level sharing of information is critical,it is going to take courage and unfortunately a ton of money to get our elected officials to wake up and take action.The monopoly on all of our resources must be broken if the planet and the life it supports is to survive.

  4. check out People Got The Power – Gene Williams you tube.

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