This article also by Jonathan Latham in 2015 discusses the steps we need to take in order to shatter the lies surrounding world wide food production and move towards a truly healthy food ecosystem. It is an incredibly thorough and powerful article. I will do my best to summarize it here, but if this resonates with you, please do read the full article.
He begins his discourse by stating that many organic farmers are beginning to prove that they have higher yields than conventional counterparts. All well and good he says, but it shows that we are still falling into a “carefully-laid trap“. The very center of the agricultural corporations’ strategy is perpetuating the idea that they are they ONLY ones able to produce enough food for the world. Therefore, by this logic, organic practicioners must be able to match or exceed convetional producion. Otherwise there just wouldn’t be enough food to go around. They have succeded in convincing the general population into fully beleiving that they are the only ones who can provide food for the projected population of 10 Billion by 2050.
The real food crisis is of overproduction
The author points out the fact that will become the true catalyst in changing our food systems: There is no shortage of food in the world, in fact there is way TOO MUCH food. Latham writes:
“There is no global or regional shortage of food. There never has been and nor is there ever likely to be. India has a superabundance of food. South America is swamped in food. The US, Australia, New Zealand and Europe are swamped in food (e.g. Billen et al 2011). In Britain, like in many wealthy countries, nearly half of all row crop food production now goes to biofuels, an attempt to dispose of surplus agricultural products. China isn’t quite swamped but it still exports food; and it grows 30% of the world’s cotton. No foodpocalypse there either.
Given the above information, the article suggests that discussing the question of yield of a farm system is of little importance to anyone other than the farmer making a living off of it. (Small Farms are much more productive by the way, and the world is realizing this) Conducting comparisons in this way does nothing but reinforce the framing of the very systems we seek to oppose.
At this point, nearly everyone knows organic is better for you, agri chemicals are toxic and GMO’s are largely untested and potentially harmful. Yet the world continues to support such systems are they are convinced that they are NEEDED to feed the world. If we continue to expose the fact that GMO’s and chemicals are not only harmful but unnecessary except to fill the pockets of corporations, we would have a much firmer stance.
“Therefore, every project of the food movement should aim to spread the truth of oversupply, until mention of the Golden Fact invites ridicule and embarrassment rather than fear. ” writes the author.
Divide and Confuse
Using this strategy, Agribusiness has managed to keep us from uniting in a common cause. Even altruistic non-profits find themselves partnering with these corporations, who fool them into thinking that they are working together to alleviate world hunger.
However if we look past this lie, we quickly see that every group that fights for environmental conservation, child nutrition, holistic health and even national development can find solutions to most of their problems in sustainable agriculture! There are two paths, states Latham:
“On the one side lie family farms and ecological methods. These support farmer and consumer health, resilience, financial and democratic independence, community, cultural and biological diversity, and long term sustainability. Opposing them is control of the food system by corporate agribusiness. Agribusiness domination leads invariantly to dependence, uniformity, poisoning and ecological degradation, inequality, land grabbing, and, not so far off, to climate chaos. “
We have to realize that this illusion has been going on since 1940, when America sent agriculturists to fix what was debatably a “broken” agricultural system. 1. Thus began the “green” revolution and the perception that conventional agriculture is the only way to feed the world.
Today however we have the power to access nearly all information in secons via the internet. Doing so we can restore reality to the perceptions that surround food production. This familarization of the true situation is the first step towards acheiving widespread change. states the author.
Power, lies, and consent
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Realizing this, is the second step towards achieving lasting change asserts Latham. He explains that we need to shift our perception on mass scale. Humanity needs to understand that we are consenting to being manipulated via a web of lies, which places the power firmly in the hands of those in charge of agribusiness corporations. We need to realize that we have been fooled, and that those fooling us are not the answer to the world’s problems.
The structure of “reality”
Throughout history there have been many powerful figures who have used multiple interlocking untruths to structure a “reality”, which allows them to hold on to power. In this context this “reality” is that we have a food shortage and agribusiness is the answer.
As such, the first step for anyone who hopes to pursue humanitarian and beneficial goals is retreival of the truth. Latham writes:
“The task of anyone who wants harmony, justice, peace, etc to prevail therefore becomes primarily to free the people from believing in lies and thus allowing them to attain mastery over their own minds. At that point they will know their own true needs and desires; they will no longer “want” to be oppressed or exploited. “
Once we realize this, we begin to see that all our goals of harmony, understanding, health, diversity, justice and sustainability, in whatever feild are mutually beneficial and intertwined. Once we realize THAT, we can stand united and the empire that is build on lies will fall faster than we think!
The article closes by stating that the tipping point of this “war” lies in our own perceptions. Today advocates of sustainability are more conencted and informed than ever. Information on the true reality of the food ecosystem is more available than ever thanks to the internet.
Since this false reality is build on a foundation of interlocking lies, often a single truth is all that it takes to bring it all falling down. We have long championed the health and environmental benefits of sustainable agriculture. If we combine those facts with a refutation of the “food crisis” we have a strong stance in our fight against industrial agriculture.
“And when that happens many of our worst global problems, from climate change and rainforest destruction down, will become either manageable or even negligible.“
“It is all in the mind.“
What an excellent article! I really do encourage you to read the whole thing as there is so much information I could not include in my summary.
We can take away two points from this:
- There is no food crisis- Conventional systems were established as solutions to food shortage and continue to claim this. This is a lie (we have a problem of overproduction!), and they are doing much more harm than good. Sustainable farms will provide more than enough food for the world while keeping us and the planet healthy. Another pressing concern that needs to be addressed is the issue of food distribution. With the amount of food that is available in the world, it is unacceptable that there are still hungry people.
- If we shift our mindset we can win- We are held in the current system not due to necessity but due to deception. If we are able to inform ourselves, seek the truth and connect with others who do the same, we will find that our goals ultimately align. We must advocate the truth to others as well so the web of lies that supports the industrial food system will fall. This is one of the reasons that we place so much importance in the Inner Conditioning of ESSA members. It is through our collective introspection, truth-seeking and collaboration that we will find success in our mission to create a more sustainable future.
Solutions are numerous and available. Take a look at some of the literature describing Permaculture, Biodynamic and many other sustainable farming systems. If we work together towards a future of food freedom we will definitely achieve it.
Do your part, for the earth and for your own health. If you live in Metro Manila, you can contact The Center For Bayanihan Economics (CBE), Bulacan or Kai Farms, Cavite, to to have organic vegetables delivered to your doorstep. If you live in Cebu, visit Cebu Farmer’s Market.
Just click the links to get started!
If you live outside the range of these services, send us an email at: email@example.com. Thanks to ESSA’s extensive network of farmers & stakeholders we may be able to help you find organic food in your area.