Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Big B’org Boycott

I’m still working on the B’org of Food problem, even though I haven’t been writing much lately.  I’ve been buying organic foods for a long time in an effort to avoid chemicals and gmos, but the information in the book Corporate Power in Global Agrifood Governance is starting to come to the forefront of my mind lately.  However, it is not just having read this book that is making me think about organic food from another angle, it’s the stuff on the shop shelves, even in my local small town Organic food shop.  What I am referring to is the fact that products are being shipped all over the place from one end of the world to the other, especially by a few big companies. 

Take one company as an example.  Infinity Foods is a big supplier to my Organic shop.  They especially supply all kinds of dried products from dried fruit, nuts and seeds to oatmeal, quinoa, beans and pulses.  I wouldn’t have called this company a member of the corporate food problem a year ago, but now I think it probably is just that despite what they say on their website (e.g., they are a cooperative without outside shareholders, but, they are a limited company registered with the Companies House UK and basically just a private company like any other with the bottom line being profit).  In the above mentioned book, the authors describe how the organic trade in certain countries is organised for export purposes only.  Meanwhile, the local population is often underfed, marginalised and forced out of business and off their land.  It is a system of mass production with all the associated negative implications.

So, I am looking to extend my boycotting.  I am boycotting quite a bit already and here is a brief summary of that first:-

1.      Sainsbury’s since I wrote about Lord Sainsbury’s involvement in promoting genetically modified food.
2.     Sugar, especially white processed sugar, since I read about the sugar industry and health detriments it causes (Digestion, Dehydration, Diabetes and Death).

3.     Wheat and other grasses such as barley and rice which have a suspicious background but which I do not believe I am well equipped to digest anyway (similar to the celiac with gluten although I do not claim to have this condition).

4.     Asda because I think it is a horrible place to shop and it is part of the monster Walmart, and I boycott most other supermarkets as much as possible.

5.     Alcohol because I don’t believe in the story about a little wine a day leading to a healthy old age and it’s dehydrating.

6.     Caffeine in all its forms, including chocolate.  Maybe I have an allergy and maybe I don’t as I wrote about in my article Caffeine Allergy, but it seems likely to be a substance I can well live without since I believe it is dehydrating and I don’t plan to venture to Mars anytime soon!

7.    Drugs and Medications, any and all, with their side effects such as those for the anti-depressant Citalopram.

To add to the list now, I’m now trying to source all foods locally and boycott imported mass produced products.

The global market place doesn’t work for everyone.  It only works for the Elite (the ones with wads of money) and I’m not one of them.  The classes (whether lower or upper because even the upper class is not part of the Elite) in most countries now may think that having access to foods from all over the world is enriching.  It may seem convenient and provide an interesting variety for menus.  But not only do I think it disgraceful that countries are specialising in a few products for export, and not only is it taking away from the food sovereignty of nations, I don’t even believe it is the best way to eat.  For example, eating a bag of pumpkin seeds in the UK which has been supplied by Infinity Foods from China, in my opinion, is not a better option than buying a few pumpkins grown where I live and available in the autumn and then drying the seeds to eat.  Granted, I wouldn’t get as many pumpkin seeds all year round and they’re not the same as the Chinese ones, but perhaps it is unnatural and not the best for health to eat so many pumpkin seeds (and not the pumpkins).  This is my theory anyway.

Consider the packaging and the transport.  And how do the Chinese make all those 500g bags of pumpkin seeds?  What kind of pumpkins are they?  I have never seen similar seeds in any pumpkin I’ve ever eaten.  What happens to the rest of the pumpkins?  I’m not sure pumpkin pies or even tins of pumpkin flesh are as popular as the pumpkin seeds.  At any rate, I’d rather buy a real pumpkin (if unable to grow it myself) that has been grown nearby without chemicals, with no packaging, from a local shop and prepare the pumpkin seeds myself.  Is this too much to ask nowadays?  I hope not.  I hope I can do it from now on.

The challenge for this boycott is to avoid foods made in the mass global export system.  It is easy to slip into the B’org Food Chain and it seems to be getting harder every day to keep free of it.  I’m looking forward to taking this journey in an effort to reverse the damage done and being done by the global corporate conglomerates to food on this planet in their frantic endeavours to take total control of the food supply.  Not mine, no you don’t!

Photo credit:

Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 - January 27, 2010) from Brooklyn, New York, he was a political science professor at Boston University, and an author, historian, playwright, and social activist.