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We are what we eat. Every single thing we put into our mouths affects our body on a cellular level and has a huge impact on our physical and mental health, happiness, and well-being.

As the mother of two young children, I do everything in my power to take back from corporations the control we once had over what’s going into our family’s bodies. I relentlessly read ingredient labels, spend hours preparing wholesome meals in the kitchen every day, and shop at the local farmer’s market (where 90 percent of the profit goes directly to the farmer versus the 10 percent they get from grocery store-bought items). But this doesn’t even begin to address the root or scale of the problem. I can consistently use my pocket book to try to protect my own family from the negative impacts of our broken food system but regardless of my own action, animal and workers’ rights abuses will continue on in the name of industrial food production. And our forests, water, and climate will continually be squandered to meet the world’s insatiable appetite for cheap meat and processed, packaged foods containing Conflict Palm Oil.

We’ve handed over one of the most important decisions for the health of our bodies and the planet – what to eat and how we produce it – to the people we can trust the least: food companies that exist for one sole reason: to make a profit.

In other words, we will not solve the climate crisis, we will fail to address the global hunger and health epidemic, and we will continue to give corporations a dangerous amount of power over our daily lives until we can transform our food system.

To put things in perspective, GMOs and the intense use of pesticides in today’s food system are relatively new problems. The first commercially produced GMO products were marketed in 1994; in the past 20 years alone we’ve gone from zero to over 80 percent of our food containing GMOs in North America. In other words, our children are science experiments for the biotech industry.

Let’s face it. Our food system prioritizes corporate profit over the health of people and planet. With 99 percent of the animals produced for food in the U.S. confined in terribly inhumane, crowded industrial operations and a systemic reliance on GMOs and chemicals, getting cheap food to our plates has a bigger environmental price tag than ever before.

Let’s take a look at palm oil and factory farmed meat to grasp the ways in which our food system is headed down the wrong path.

Conflict Palm Oil is a relatively new symptom of our broken food system. Found in roughly half the packaged products sold in U.S. grocery stores, including popular snack foods like ice cream, cookies, crackers, instant noodles, peanut butter, cereals, and potato chips, even the most avid ingredient label readers can’t avoid it. Conflict Palm Oil is found under the guise of many different names in products and is even hiding in detergents and self-care products. After the FDA required that manufacturers label trans fats on food products in 2006, imports of palm oil to the U.S. jumped roughly 60 percent, as it’s naturally stable at room temperature and doesn’t have to be hydrogenated. Palm oil has a long shelf life and is the cheapest vegetable oil on the market since it only grows in regions where labor and land is cheap – namely Indonesia, Malaysia, and parts of Africa and Latin America. Simply put, our addiction to processed, packaged foods has facilitated the explosion in demand for Conflict Palm Oil, the production of which is eating into the heart of our planet’s most precious remaining tropical forests.

Industrial Agriculture is Responsible for One-Third of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The livestock sector alone is responsible for more than 14 percent of those global emissions. From climate change and deforestation to water pollution and loss of biodiversity, the impacts of raising animals in factory farms represent one of the biggest environmental and public health crises on the planet. In the U.S. alone, meat giant Tyson pollutes more water than agribusiness giant Cargill (the world’s largest privately owned company) and ExxonMobil (the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company) put together.

All this goes to say that making food choices in the 21st-Century requires a new level of diligence; protecting our families from a consolidated food system that is controlled by a handful of corporations recently became a whole lot harder. It’s important to remember that Big Food – multinational food companies like PepsiCo, Tyson Foods, and Kraft Heinz – do not have our best interests in mind.

If we can’t reclaim control of something as simple as the food we’re feeding our own families, we’ll never solve the climate crisis. Given the significance of this issue for the planet and the health of future generations, I hope you’ll join me in taking action to transform the food system. Together, we can challenge the corporate takeover of our food!

Image source: MNStudio/Shutterstock

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One comment on “We Are What the Corporations Feed Us? Why Challenging Our Broken Food System is Important”

Click to add comment
Valerie Mandall
6 Months Ago

IMO. The problem is GMO forced on us by the greed and avarice of big conglomerates. Must be removed from our food before we are an endangered species.


Reply
Vita Searle
6 Months Ago

Problem is so many people are on low incomes so cannot pick and chose where to shop, and again due to low income can only afford the mass produce products, not fair trade, or organic . Not every one has the time or ability to cook much to. So the answer is more complex than just everyone switching to buying local and basics from scratch.


Reply
Michael Wright
21 Dec 2016

Very good point, and unfortunately true. I think that is what many of the food giants rely on to justify their behavior. While I have the luxury to pick and choose where I shop I still try and save where I can and chose food that is grown locally and organically and without GMO. This last summer I had a small garden planted in reclaimed half wine barrels on my patio that did rather well, all the seeds that I used were taken from organic produce purchased at local farmers markets with the exception of carrot and radish seeds I purchased at the dollar store. Water was collected from the drain of my AC unit and rain. The only issues I had was my sun's basket ball landing in the garden. But I hear you, everyones situation is different can be difficult for some people and easier for others.

Karen Hewus
6 Months Ago

Too bad I can't read the article with the ad in the way


Reply
Michael Wright
21 Dec 2016

Top right hand corner of the add, place your curser over the little x and click, poof, add is now gone

Karen Hewus
21 Dec 2016

The x never appeared ?

Vita Searle
21 Dec 2016

You won't see the X until you pass the cursor over it, hanging over the edge of the top right corner.

Karen Hewus
21 Dec 2016

OK thanks!

One Green Planet
21 Dec 2016

Can you send us a screenshot so we can see the problem? Thank you :)

Karen Hewus
21 Dec 2016

One Green Planet i was able to close the box all good now- thanks

Heather Larson
6 Months Ago

How is a food system that provides more than enough food to feed the entire world broken??? Seriously??? Wtf?


Reply
Michael Wright
21 Dec 2016

Perhaps instead of just reading the headline and acting like a complete ass, you actually read the article. I bit of an education wouldn't hurt either.

Michael
21 Dec 2016

Seriously, read the article and try to focus on the topic instead of being a jackass.

Heather Larson
21 Dec 2016

What's so bad about GMOs? That's just fear mongering. We don't starve bc of GMOs. I refuse to buy into liberal agenda propaganda. Don't like the food in stores??? Then grow it yourself.

Michael Wright
22 Dec 2016

Heather Larson See thats the problem right there, you make it political. I'm not a liberal, you just assume I am because I have educated myself on the subject and have done the research on the damage GMO does. You are so bound in determined to be right that you are willing to discount legitimate research, you are willing to roll the dice with the health of your family and yourself just to be right. You say you refuse to buy into the liberal agenda propaganda, but you are willing to jump into the conservative agenda propaganda blindly with both feet. No, I don't like the food in the stores, thanks for asking. I do grow some of my own food, I also shop at farmers markets, and at the local organic chicken farm down the road for eggs and poultry, I do the same for pork, and I don't eat beef. I have noticed one major difference between people that eat GMO and people that don't, the people that do eat it seem to be a whole lot more angry and have no respect for others.

Michael Wright
22 Dec 2016

Heather Larson http://nutritionstudies.org/gmo-dangers-facts-you-need-to-know/ I know you won't bother to read this because it's just liberal propaganda right, science research is only valid if it fits your agenda. I would really like to know what agenda the anti-GMO people like myself has. If protecting the health of my fellow man and the health of my family is an agenda, than so be it. Lets be honest here shall we? GMO doesn't feed the world, if it did we wouldn't have children in some of these third world countries starving to death in the thousands. Every year the United States throws out more than 222 million tons of produce while people in underdeveloped countries starve to death, its all about the money. We in the US take everything for granted, we want everything cheap and easily accessible, to hell with our health, to hell with the environment, to hell with the ramifications, give me my shit now. Every year the people in the US purchase more than 50 billion bottles of water, and about 43% of that water purchased is wasted, left in the bottle, thrown out car windows, left sitting on curbs in parking lots or thrown into the trash can to head to the land fills. I have been in countries where people have to gather water out of a polluted stream, river or lake in a filthy bucket and walk for a half hour to get it. Twenty-five years ago, GMO didn't exist in grocery stores and yet, I never starved to death neither did anyone I know. Back twenty-five years ago we also didn't have the high cancer rates we do now, tweet-five years ago the we had only a fraction of the alzheimer cases we do now, the list of diseases is growing daily.



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