So Many Choices, so Few Choices: a Rural Look at Empire and Food

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Presentation Description

A workshop about where our food comes from, how food systems work, why so many go hungry, and what we can do.

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Presentation Transcript

So Many Choices, So Few Choices :

So Many Choices, So Few Choices A Rural Look at Empire’s Grip on What We Eat

Agenda:

Agenda Apple Slices & Banana Splits Our Relationship to Food The Business of Farming 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. 20% of Canadians live in rural areas and account for 11% of food bank users. 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: World Bank

…Declining Farm Income Net Farm Income: 1926-2005:

…Declining Farm Income Net Farm Income: 1926-2005 Source: National Farmers Union, “The Farm Crisis & Corporate Profits.” November 30, 2005

While family farmers are trying to survive on Depression-era incomes, agribusinesses continue to record billion-dollar profits year after year. :

While family farmers are trying to survive on Depression-era incomes, agribusinesses continue to record billion-dollar profits year after year. © 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 agriculture, vertical and horizontal integration have led to unprecedented market concentration. These days, the same corporation owns all stages of production  from seeds to supermarket shelves. © 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 Farming… 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

Land Grabs :

Land Grabs By 2025 half of Canadian families living on farms will be forced to leave. Farmland has become a “safe financial haven” for corporations and financial investors. Source: National Farmers Union, “Losing Our Grip,” June 2010

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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 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:

Healthy, Sustainable Food Systems Food Sovereignty: The right of peoples to safe, healthy, and ecologically sustainable production. 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. Women’s Equality: Recognizing women’s crucial role as farmers, seed protectors, and landowners. Ensuring equity. Managed Trade in Agriculture: Commodity agreements, internal supports, supply management, and tariff protections. 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 33:

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 36:

© 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. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank: “Rising Food Prices: Policy options and World Bank response.” < http://siteresources.worldbank.org/NEWS/Resources/risingfoodprices_backgroundnote_apr08.pdf > Used with permission. Slide 8: Net Farm Income graph. National Farmers Union, “The Farm Crisis and Corporate Profits,” November 30, 2005. < http://www.nfu.ca/briefs/2005/corporate_profits.pdf > 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 31: Mark Lewis Taylor quote. Mark Lewis Taylor, “Theology and Global Empire Today,” in Reformed World, December 2006. Used with permission.

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