So Many Choices, So Few Choices: An Urban Look at Empire and Food

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Presentation Description

Engaging workshop on where food comes from, who controls food access, who is hungry, and how we can respond.

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Presentation Transcript

So Many Choices, So Few Choices :

So Many Choices, So Few Choices An Urban Look at Empire’s Grip on What We Eat

Agenda:

Agenda Apple Slices & Banana Splits Our Relationship to Food The Business of Food Thinking about Power Southern Connections Why Empire? Living Alternatives Covenanting for Life The Beginning

Food Is Central to Our Faith:

Food Is Central to Our Faith It helps us connect as a community It nourishes us physically and spiritually It puts us in relationship with the earth How we relate to food says a lot about us ©WCC/Peter Williams ©Stephanie Ross

A Few Facts :

A Few Facts Canadians spend around $140 billion at grocery stores and restaurants annually. On average, we spend a total of 46 minutes each day cooking and eating. People with jobs – the working poor – are the second-largest group of food bank clients. Since 2008, food bank usage has increased by 18%. Canadians eat fast food 3-4 times weekly. Sources: StatsCan, Food Banks Canada, & Canadian Foodgrains Bank. © Dreamstime © Dreamstime

A McDonald’s Hamburger :

A McDonald’s Hamburger This burger was bought in 1996. It was photographed in 2008. It’s 12 YEARS OLD!! More about the burger: http://bestofmotherearth.com/the-burger © Karen Harrahan

How Does the Food System Work? :

How Does the Food System Work? Things have changed rapidly Increasing interconnectedness … means increasing concentration of power … means less autonomy to make food choices

Rising Food Prices…:

Rising Food Prices… Source: Citizens for Public Justice, “Bearing the Brunt,” 2010. Change in Price for Basic Food Items, December 2007–December 2009

…Declining Quality of Life:

…Declining Quality of Life Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2010

Corporations continue to record profits year after year, while 6 in 10 Canadians live from paycheque to paycheque.:

Corporations continue to record profits year after year, while 6 in 10 Canadians live from paycheque to paycheque. © Dreamstime

Thinking about Power:

Thinking about Power ©Alexandra Byers ©Alexandra Byers ©WCC/Juan Michel

Power Is…:

Power Is… CORE

Brainstorm:

Brainstorm What/who are the hub and spokes of our global food system? How does it affect you? Your family? Your community?

Slide 13:

In food production, vertical and horizontal integration have led to unprecedented market concentration. These days, the same corporation can own all stages of production  from seeds to supermarket shelves to fast food outlets. © Dreamstime © Dreamstime

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Three corporations control 81% of all global corn exports. The same three control 65% of all soybean exports. 10 corporations control half of the market for commercial seeds. These 10 also produce pesticides for controversial genetically modified (GMO) food crops. Agribusiness is a leading cause of climate change. The Business of Food… Sources: Kairos, GRAIN

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Four companies control over 80% of the Canadian cattle slaughtering industry. Four companies control over half the grain and oilseed milling in Canada. Top five food retailers in Canada control 60% of the market. …Is the Business of Profit © Dreamstime Source: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, 2003

Forced into Permanent Poverty & Unhealthy Choices…:

Forced into Permanent Poverty & Unhealthy Choices… New EI rules mean it’s hard to qualify and access support. In order to access social assistance, you need to use up all of your savings, including any retirement savings. Low wages and precarious work conditions make it tough to make ends meet. By 2025, even half of Canadian families living on farms will be forced to leave. Poverty and food insecurity lead to poor physical health and chronic disease. Sources: Food Banks Canada, Statistics Canada, Citizens for Public Justice, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

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Southern Connections

Rising Global Hunger:

Rising Global Hunger The number of hungry people in the world continues to increase, with over one billion people going to bed hungry. The majority of hungry people are in some way connected to agricultural production: as farmers, labourers, fishers, and herders. Approximately 80% of all food produced in the global South is produced by small-land farmers. Leaving the market to regulate itself means dramatic fluctuations at the expense of peoples’ lives.

Governments Implement & Support Policies:

Governments Implement & Support Policies “There is also strong empirical evidence for the view that economic liberalization policies – widely touted as the pathway to prosperity and convergence – have caused the gap between rich and poor in global and national terms to further widen in recent years.” “Wealth, Poverty, & Ecology,” World Council of Churches, 2008

Who Do Governments Serve?:

Who Do Governments Serve? ©WCC/Peter Williams

Source: AGAPE, World Council of Churches Who Benefits? Who Loses? :

Source: AGAPE, World Council of Churches Who Benefits? Who Loses?

Covenanting for Life :

Covenanting for Life We name this complex human-made web of domination “empire.” The many forms of empire are the primary obstacles to God’s purposes of justice, equality, and reconciliation between peoples and nations and within creation. ©Alexandra Byers

Why Empire? :

Why Empire? As a metaphor for interconnected systems of domination, empire affects all levels of relationships. As a lens, it helps us see in new and complex ways. As a concept, empire intersects multiple issues. Southern partners call us to recognize systems of domination as empire. © Dreamstime

Why Empire? :

Why Empire? It’s relational  the unjust use of power by some results in the abuse, disempowerment, or destruction of others. Empire is a way to talk about greed and injustice. We live in a context of empire, as Jesus did. How similar is our response? An understanding of empire could help the church be prophetic and justice-seeking. © Dreamstime

Slide 25:

“To say Jesus died on the cross for our sin is often to ignore or forget that he died because he was dangerous to a society that wanted to hold onto its power. Jesus died on the cross for his beliefs, his idea of God, his preaching, his siding with the poor and outcast.” Mary McKenna Not Counting Women and Children (1994)

A Call for Transformative Justice :

A Call for Transformative Justice “Transformative justice emphasizes the constructive task of building just, participatory and sustainable communities wherever human beings have to bear the consequences of inequality and exclusion in the economic and political system.” AGAPE, World Council of Churches, 2005

“During this time life has changed,” says Sukoluhle Moyo, a single mother who has gone from receiving food aid to sharing seeds and food with others. :

“During this time life has changed,” says Sukoluhle Moyo, a single mother who has gone from receiving food aid to sharing seeds and food with others. Christian Care, a United Church partner in Zimbabwe, is helping mostly female farmers through its conservation farming Nkayi project. Conservation Farming: Minimal soil disturbance Use of mulch to conserve Diversified crop rotations Timely land prep and weeding Maize yields have increased by more than 200%! Living Alternatives… © Canadian Foodgrains Bank

…Resisting Empire:

…Resisting Empire Only 2% of Haiti’s once rich forest remains. Deforestation began with colonialism, while recent free trade exacerbated inequity. Debt payments were prioritized over government support and infrastructure, making the effects of the earthquake devastating. Economy of Solidarity: Co-operatives Fair trade & fair pricing Micro-credit Community collaboration Education for environmental protection & political action United Church partner Karl Lévêque Cultural Institute of Haiti’s Economy of Solidarity Project. Participants are packing beans to share and sharing a song while planning their work.

…Living Faithfully :

…Living Faithfully Stop-Gap Isn’t Stopping Source: Citizens for Public Justice, “Bearing the Brunt” (2010). Food Bank Users, 2000–2009

…Living Faithfully:

…Living Faithfully The Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry, of Wascana Presbytery of The United Church of Canada, works as a social justice ministry through individual advocacy with marginalized and vulnerable people in need public education on poverty issues challenging systemic discrimination. “In other words we challenge Empire daily.” Bonnie Morton, Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry Team

Healthy, Sustainable Food Systems & Dignity for All:

Healthy, Sustainable Food Systems & Dignity for All Income and Housing Security: Recognizing that access to decent work, living wages, affordable housing, and child care all contribute to poverty elimination. Food Sovereignty: The right of peoples to safe, healthy, and ecologically sustainable production. The right to choose food policies that work for people. Social Inclusion & Strong Social Security: Legislation that ensures federal responsibility for social development and sufficient support to social services. Corporate Accountability: Addressing market concentration through regulations and transparency mechanisms. Land Rights & Care for the Earth: Land policies putting small farmers at the centre and enabling sustainable agricultural policies. Fair Trade: Co-operatives, price guarantees, safe working conditions.

Love + Justice = Life:

Love + Justice = Life “The heart of this gospel is that there is a way of existing in the world, which combines love and justice in such a way that power is released for resisting and transforming a world of suffering and oppressed peoples and creation, even under the comprehensively threatening powers of empire.” Mark Lewis Taylor “Theology and Global Empire Today” (2006)

A Covenant for Life in Creation…:

A Covenant for Life in Creation…

Slide 34:

We seek to choose life and resist empire, to create sustainable alternatives for the common good, to form holistic relationship and communities of joy and justice, to enact daring discipleship and mutuality on the sacred Earth

Our Closing Is Our Beginning :

Our Closing Is Our Beginning As we commit to covenanting for life, what are some ways to move forward? Action Community Advocacy People Justice

Covenanting for Life:

Covenanting for Life As people of God, as part of the worldwide community and of God’s sacred creation, we humbly and joyfully covenant to learn to live faithfully in the midst of empire and to respond to God’s call for renewed life for all. God be our guide and helper!

Slide 37:

© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca . Any copy must include this notice. Slide 7: Food Prices graph. Chandra Pasma, “Bearing the Brunt: Recession Increases Poverty Rate in Canada.” Citizens for Public Justice, June 21, 2010. < http://www.cpj.ca/files/docs/Bearing_the_Brunt_-_Summary.pdf > Used with permission. Slide 8: Canadian Household Savings graph. Armine Yalnizyan, “Canadian households: Among highest debt to income ratios in the world.” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, August 16, 2010. < http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/canadian-households-among-highest-debt-income-ratios-world > Used with permission. Slide 17: Food Prices graph. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank: “Food Prices” Flash presentation. < http://digitalmedia.worldbank.org/SSP/foodprices/index.html > Used with permission. Slide 19: WCC quote. World Council of Churches, “Wealth, Poverty, & Ecology,” 2008. Used by permission of the World Council of Churches. Slide 21: Champagne Glass graph. World Council of Churches, “Alternative Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth (AGAPE),” 2005. Used by permission of the World Council of Churches. Slide 25: Mary McKenna quote. Mary McKenna, Not Counting Women and Children: Neglected Stories from the Bible (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994), p. 223. Slide 26: WCC quote. World Council of Churches, “Alternative Globalization Addressing Peoples and Earth (AGAPE),” 2005. Used by permission of the World Council of Churches. Slide 29. Graph. Chandra Pasma, “Bearing the Brunt: Recession Increases Poverty Rate in Canada.” Citizens for Public Justice, June 21, 2010. < http://www.cpj.ca/files/docs/Bearing_the_Brunt_-_Summary.pdf > Used with permission. Slide 32: Mark Lewis Taylor quote. Mark Lewis Taylor, “Theology and Global Empire Today,” in Reformed World, December 2006. Used with permission.

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