In the past few weeks, thousands of folks have gathered in Occupy demonstrations across the country to protest the greed of banks, the power of corporations, widespread unemployment, the widest income gap in US history.
This corporate control has affected all of us - the farm families that have been forced off the land, leading to factory farms and industrial, chemical intensive agribusiness; and the eaters who are facing dwindling choices in the food system, higher costs for organic and local products, and degradation of our national natural resource base. Food is too important to be put into the hands of a few corporations!
The mission of HOMEGROWN.org is to "create a place where our love for food and the land evolves, deepens, and becomes something more fulfilling. A place where we can hear and appreciate the bigger stories that our food has to share – and connect to the source of our food: the land and the grower: The family farm." Our goal as a community is to empower all of the growers, producers, eaters, chefs, craftspeople, builders, makers, and do-ers to get involved and share their skills, to feel inspired and to embrace living HOMEGROWN. The DIY movement has freed us from corporate control of our kitchens and gardens.
By living HOMEGROWN, all of us are occupying the food system and forging an independence from corporate control on some level: by planting and growing gardens to feed our families and communities, supporting family farmers in new markets, trying new recipes that feature local, seasonal foods, building/making/crafting everyday items, and reducing consumption, reusing/repurposing our stuff, and recycling or composting waste.
Food is the tie that binds all Americans, from farmers to eaters, together. Invite those who are occupying and those who are not into the food conversation. Be inspired to bring your skills and food sovereignty knowledge to your local movement:
Start your own occupation in your kitchen or garden.
What Occupy movements are happening in your town or city? How can we inject the problems with our food system into these Occupy conversations? What can each of us do to bring the corporate control of agriculture to the table? There are lots of ways to Occupy the food system at home or with the public. Let us know what changes you’re making and how you’re getting involved! Share stories, photos, videos, and ideas with us!
Check out Farm Aid's "Occupy the Food System" Facebook page. Lots of folks are gathering there and spreading their message about taking back control of our food system. Add your two cents!
My roommates and I are throwing a "Pumpkinfest!" Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ice cream-- if it's pumpkin, we're going to make it! And while we're occupying our kitchen with a bunch of friends, I'm sure the conversation will quickly arrive at the occupy movements and how they relate to our food system.
A few attendees to Pumpkinfest are working on getting a CSA drop-off site at our university. One of my roommates is looking into vermicomposting at our apartment (an upgrade from our simple compost bin). Another friend helped push to get a small farmers market on campus. It feels to to know that while our food system may not be occupied yet, we're a part of the figurative elbow that's nudging out corporate farming.
Here are some great ideas to help expedite the "nudging" and take back our food!
Lauren - that's awesome!! Thanks for sharing the article, and your own HOMEGROWN "Occupy" efforts. Pumpkinfest sounds like a lot of fun!
Civil Eats posted a blog today about Why the Food Movement Should Occupy Wall Street. Here's just a sample from the informative blog:
"On a broader philosophical level, as Mark Bittman writes in the Times, “Whether we’re talking about food, politics, healthcare, housing, the environment, or banking, the big question remains the same: How do we bring about fundamental change?” But there are also clear and specific reasons that all of us working for a just and fair food system, as the food movement should make the connection between our work and Occupy Wall Street explicit and strong."
What do you think??
An article about Occupy movements in rural Missouri.
Thanks for all your great input, folks! We are excited to see where this HOMEGROWN Occupy movement heads, and how people are taking back control of their food system!
How do you draw links between corporate control and your food? Do you consider monopolies in the agricultural sector when making choices, or are you driven by another factor? In what ways can we get people thinking about the problems in our food system as an effect of the causes of corporate control.
Check out another article "Foodies, Get Thee to Occupy Wall Street" by Tom Philpott for Mother Jones:
"But other economic sectors are similarly concentrated, and have a comparable grip on public policy. Consider the industry I cover. Our national food policy is both in desperate need of reform and utterly trapped under the heel of industry influence. So, as Occupy Wall Street evolves, food policy should be on the plate."
Keep the opinions and ideas a-comin', folks!
is your organization really equating themselves with the Occupy Wallstreet Movement? eating locally grown healthful food is not a political statement but a God given right. reclaiming our country doesnt have to hurt others... occupying ourselves in doing it by growing our own food should be.
My husband and I both were fired from our jobs, so our income is limited. We grow vegetables in our garden, and then I either freeze them or can. My entire family shares, and we also share with our neighbors. If I get a deal of b1g2 of potatoes, one bag goes to my brother, and he shares with his tenants. I make my own jam, and pickles. If I don't have enough produce, my siblings give me their over stock, and then I share what I can or freeze with them. My son raises chickens, so my eggs are free.
I am a chef, so cooking is something I love to do. Nothing goes to waste. A meal becomes another meal, and if there is a bit left over; my dog gets a treat. My entire family shares our food sources, and we try hard to buy locally. Today I will buy a basket of apples from a neighbor.
I also make my own cleaning supplies. A spray bottle, mixed with part water, part dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and part rubbing alcohol is my favorite surface cleaner. Oil and vinegar are for dusting. I use rags to dust and then wash over and over. Nearly everything I buy is second hand, or free. Free cycle is my good friend.
I completely agree with you - eating locally-grown food is an inherent right, but the reality for some is that there is little to no access to it. Corporate control in the seed, meat, and dairy sectors limits competition for other producers, driving up the cost of organic and local food for those who can't grow it. Corporate control forces family farmers off the land, or to use chemical intensive measures to stay competitive in the sector.
I think that HOMEGROWN/Farm Aid are doing an important thing by highlighting the importance of the food conversation and how it relates to the realities of corporate control. It's something that farmers and eaters have been fighting for a long time, and now the opportunity could be ripe to bring this issue to the table and to the American conscious.
Whether or not you support Occupy Wall Street, we all gotta eat and do our part to bring about a change for farmers and eaters! The inspiring things that HOMEGROWNers do everyday are an incredible form of freedom from corporate control. Let us all live the mission of this community - start spreading the seeds of change and empowering others to live HOMEGROWN.