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If you don't normally read my e-mails you need to read this one. I was asked to speak at the recent National Functional Medicine Conference in Galway, I spoke about "Who owns out food?"
You can read on below or watch the 3 minute video here:
Who owns out food?
There are 4 links in the global food chain and scarily the farmer has very little say in any of it, which is strange as it all starts with the farmer and the seeds. Seeds are the fundamental building blocks of nature, and diversity in seeds contributes to more biodiversity and better food resilience.
Seeds and Chemicals (the origin, of which there are 3)
If the proposed Bayer Monsanto merger goes through, 30% of the worlds seed supply and 25% of the world's agrichemical supply will rest with one company. This will leave three extremely powerful global players in the seed and agrochemical market.
Monsanto and Bayer (proposed merger in review)
DowDuPont now a €130 billion merged company of Dupont and Dow chemicals. (merger completed on the 01-Sep 2017)
Chemchina and Syngenta in the process of completion.
These companies make their money by patenting the seeds that are used to grow the crops that our world now relies on for food. Their product pipelines are built on genetically engineered patented plants that tolerate higher doses of the chemicals they sell. A business model that has made them very rich, but has done the opposite to our natural environment.
Their mandate is profit.
Wheat, maize and soya represent the largest fundamental building block of the world's food supply. These crops are now predominately genetically engineered and they provide the raw materials for nearly all the branded products we will see below.
The buyers, transporters and processors (the middle men, of which there are 4)
The following four companies: Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, and Cargill - all US-based multinationals - and the Dutch Louis Dreyfous Company control 70% of the worlds raw food materials, which means they make most of the decisions about is found in our food..
They buy the raw materials, soya, corn, and wheat and process them into cheap bulk ingredients that the big food companies use to manufacture nearly all of the brands we see on our supermarket shelves.
They support a large scale, highly industrialised, chemically dependent genetically engineered food landscape, where only larger and larger scale farming survives.
The companies behind the brands (they own everything, of which there are 10)
10 companies control almost every large food and beverage brand in the world.
These companies are — Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondelez — each employ thousands and make billions of dollars in revenue every year, in fact between them they make a billion dollars per day!
The sellers (the giant supermarket chains, of which there are many)
The supermarket chains play the role of gatekeeper, deciding how food is produced and what fills the shelves. The power of supermarket chains allows them to dictate prices and conditions to suppliers, pushing down wages and lengthening working hours. Price pressures also result in more intensive, less environmentally friendly farming methods.
Finally the conclusion
I believe if there is to be a future in food production (and there has to be), then that future lies in sustinable farming practices, where the farmer gets paid a fair price for his produce and where we put a real value and priority on protecting our fragile planet.
PS We are very excited our new farm packing building has started, and we are delighted with our crowd funding campaign but we still need more help, please share, or donate as you can, to help take our farm one step nearer to being carbon neutral.