Occupy our Food Supply, Occupy our Bodies

When we eat, the food we eat becomes us. And what are we after all? Maybe we are just an accumulation of memories, or a construct to create order out of chaos. Or maybe, we are the accumulation of the food we’ve consumed, the life we’ve taken in, in the form of animals and plants, and the life we’ve given out, in the form of creativity and love. Instead of days, months and years, we can measure our lives in harvests, in celebratory meals, in summer cookouts.

When we eat products made from GMO corn, we become Monsanto. When we eat factory-farmed turkey, we become Cargill. We are artificial, we are the embodiment of their profit motive. We are complicit in allowing them to consolidate power and dictate the rules of the game, which simply say we should consume processed foods blindly, hold up convenient and cheap food as idols, and sit passively while the ancient connection to natural, healthy food continues to weaken.

The idols are false. The ancient connection is too important, too spiritual. Now is the time to take back control of the food system, take back control of the seeds that belong to everyone and not just to a private corporation, and regain authority over what we put into our bodies. Yes, Monsanto controls more than 90% of soybean seeds and 80% of corn seeds used in the U.S. But we can create the food system we want simply by embodying that food system — growing food, eating locally, supporting organic farmers, increasing access to healthy food for all.

On February 27th, Occupy Our Food Supply got to work on the task of recreating the food supply to benefit people, not corporations. Walking into Liberty Square felt like a homecoming of sorts. No more tents or drum circles, but still a palpable sense of excitement, of intellectual fervor. There was still the thrill of working for change, still the echoes of last Fall, when a new consciousness emerged as people began to see the harmful effects of corporate consolidation in all systems.

The event started with a seed exchange, during which there were frequent mic checks not for the purpose of soapboxing, but instead for asking questions like, “Does anyone have bok choi?” Carlos Marentes of Via Campesina, an international organization representing the rights of peasants and farm workers, spoke about food sovereignty. Representatives from the Label It Yourself campaign spoke and handed out stickers to place in supermarkets on foods containing GMOs, something the government refuses to do. Eventually, the group left Liberty Square armed with “seed balls” — a mixture of compost, red clay, and seeds — which were to be tossed into vacant lots, and which will start to grow when it rains.

Guerilla gardening, labeling-it-yourself, and the exchange of seeds and knowledge on #F27 all demonstrate that it is in our power to take back our food system. Even if we start small, even with just some seeds into vacant lots, the rains will come soon, and the seeds will grow.


7 Responses to “Occupy our Food Supply, Occupy our Bodies”
  1. Debbie Himmelfarb says:

    This is great…profound and beautifully written.

  2. Your first three paragraphs are a zephyr clearing the fog of corporate casuistry. Well said my friend. well said. Civil eats had similar sentiments without the poetic clarity you provide. Check it out: http://civileats.com/2012/02/24/why-we-must-occupy-our-food-supply/

    • ehimmel says:

      Thanks Seth, I really appreciate it. That’s a good Civil Eats article, it does a nice job summarizing the negative effects of corporate consolidation and the reasons why we need to regain control of the system.

  3. Robin Fixell says:

    Eric–Aside from the fact that your sentiments are beautifully articulated, they also touch on causes that are near and dear to me: putting an end to factory farming; using the majority of our land for plant growth–which would virtually wipe out hunger–rather than raising methane-producing animals for food (anti-cruelty, to boot!); bringing fresh local food to our inner cities, etc.
    Good work! –Robin

    • ehimmel says:

      Thanks Robin, I appreciate it. Also, if we turned more of the corn and soy that we grow into food, instead of into animal feed, that would be a huge improvement and could certainly address the hunger issue.

  4. Ethan Fixell says:

    Great post — keep fighting the good fight!

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