How to Boycott Big Food

08/13/20130 Comments

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by James Corbett
August 13, 2013

The modern supermarket is less and less a place to purchase food for the household and more and more a warzone where shoppers have to negotiate a minefield of toxic chemicals and additives. From processed foods with their string of unpronounceable ingredients to the “fresh fruits and vegetables” saturated in pesticides to meat and dairy products from industrial farms where animals are raised on a diet of growth hormones and animal waste to the ever-present and ever-growing danger of GMO contamination of nearly everything, feeding healthy, nourishing food to your family is quickly becoming difficult, if not impossible, through the industrial food system.

Perhaps the worst part of this phenomenon is that, as specialist stores begin to cater to the demands of their economically comfortable clientele for fresh and organic foods and ingredients, it is the poorest members of society who are increasingly targeted by these health hazards.

For a generation that has been raised on processed foods and microwave dinners, it may be hard to imagine that any alternative to these products are available. For those who are interested in sourcing healthy alternatives to the chemical concoctions that pass for food these days, there are, as always, a host of excuses for why they can't buck the status quo and say no to the food conglomerates that control so much of our modern food supply: It's too expensive to buy fresh, organic foods. It's too time-consuming to prepare foods from scratch. There isn't enough time or space to grow your own fruits and vegetables.

Ironically, as more and more people fall through the cracks economically—with a record 47 million Americans now relying on food stamps to help keep food on the family table—the apathy and inertia around these issues is beginning to fade. In the last several years we have seen a resurgence in the concept of “victory gardens” and urban gardening generally as millions of people around the globe begin to rediscover the practicality—not to mention the simple joys—of growing their own food.

In fact, as some of these families have shown, the space limitations of urban environments need not be an impediment to the truly dedicated urban gardener.

As study after study and report after report continues to confirm the dangers of modern chemical additives, pesticides and ingredients, backyard gardening and participation in local farmers markets is quickly transforming from a fringe movement to a major cultural phenomenon. Recently, I had the chance to talk to Aaron Dykes and Melissa Melton of about this phenomenon and just how easy it is for people to begin transitioning off of the industrial food chain.

For those who are not confined to the space limitations of the urban environment, the ability to maintain a year-round harvest of fresh foods is even easier. As no shortage of online guides and tutorials will attest, raised bed gardening not only allows those in more rural locations the ability to feed healthy, homegrown food to their family on a regular basis, but also to reconnect with the natural environment and provide the calm and respite that is so often lacking from modern life.

Recently I had the chance to discuss gardening with Leon Pittard of Fairdinkum Radio in Australia, including how soil development can be an essential part of the home gardening process.

As with every such transition, the move from an industrial food diet to a homegrown, organic one is likely to occur in gradual stages. As people improve their gardening skills and devote more of their time and attention to sourcing healthy, natural foods from local growers and producers, they can slowly but surely eliminate the processed foods from their diets.

And this, as with all such boycotts, is the real promise of the homegrown food revolution. There is nothing that we as individuals can do to directly influence the policies of the Federal Reserve or the practices of the NSA or the foreign policy of the US/NATO empire. But we can directly choose what foods and products we support with our dollars and what food we put on our families' tables. Not only can we make that choice, but we do actively make that choice each and every day, whether by default or by conscious action. If we, in the full knowledge of the devestating health and environmental effects of the big food conglomerates, continue to support those corporations with our money, then we are complicit in their activities. To the extent that we withdraw our support and begin to seek out and build up alternative infrastructures for producing healthy foods, we are part of the solution.

The choice is ours to make, and this revolution, like the Wall Street boycott, the Big Tech boycott, and all the other boycotts of the corporatocracy that are possible, begins the next time you walk into a store and purchase—or refuse to purchase—one of their products.

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