Blog Post 8

Wise’s “Eating Tomorrow” provides insight on small-scale farming in Latin countries. It was interesting how Wise sticks up for these farmers in his introduction by saying that the large business corporations that control what happens in these farms are missing the fact that these farmers are struggling due to their incompetence. Wise stressed that it was important to care for these workers and allow them to live their lives outside of the farm, or at least have access to crucial resources. While Wise talks about the growing of corn, he stressed that it was important to keep unhealthy pesticides out of the farms, which would be beneficial for consumers and producers.

Eating Tomorrow

This reading explains the harmful effects of agribusiness and the exploitation done by international seed and fertilizer corporations. The book begins by explaining how farmers in Africa, facing serious threats from global warming, were counterintuitively encouraged by Western countries to plant monocultures of cereal crops instead of having diverse seeds that enrich the soil. They were also encouraged to use fertilizers made with fossil fuels. The reading later explains that Bill Gate’s foundation aimed to bring the “green revolution” to parts of Africa left out important older technologies, such as irrigation. The traditional method of farmers growing enough food to feed their families and then selling the surplus to the community has been replaced with an agribusiness model, where the interests are to maximize production and have the lowest possible farm prices while charging the consumer as much as possible. It is also explained how modern farming is responsible for contributing to climate change; nearly 70% of human freshwater use is for irrigation, and the biggest threat to the environment is the overconsumption of dairy and meat in wealthy countries. This misuse of resources is being ignored while the myth of scarcity and overpopulation is being perpetuated.

In Malawi, the subsidies from the World Bank and IMF did not effectively reduce hunger; rather, they increased the profits of multinational seed and fertilizer corporations (Monsanto being the biggest one). The subsidies were primarily for hybrid maize that is not open-pollinated variety (OPV), so they must be repurchased every year. This was done strategically so that farmers would have to keep buying and would stay reliant on these wealthy countries indefinitely. This focus on maize production has led to a diet lacking in crucial nutrients. Monsanto bought out the National Seed Company of Malawi in 1998 to create a virtual monopoly.

The reading then talks about a lawsuit in Mexico City about the fear of genetically modified maize contaminating native maize varieties from the wind spreading seeds. A significant quote from the section is, “Mexican maize is a gift from Mesoamerica to the world, which they are trying to privatize with patented GM seeds.” The wind causes seeds to travel as far as a kilometer, and with thousands of corn plants being planted in fields, farmers found this contamination inevitable. Monsanto made the extremely ironic statement that they were just trying to create food sovereignty for Mexico, while selling seeds that cannot be saved.

Blog Post-8

In the first section of the book, in the chapter “Into Africa: The New Colonialism,” Wise explores the concept of the new colonialism in which African governments broker deals with foreign investors, displacing local farmers and communities. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa is introduced as an organization promoting the adoption of commercial hybrid and genetically modified seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and market related approaches. While chapter two mostly focuses on the Malawi miracle and the limitations of Africa’s green revolution. The government of Malawi implemented subsidies for small scale farmers to purchase seeds and fertilizers, resulting in increased maize production. However, Wise argues that the subsidies primarily benefit multinational seed and fertilizer companies, this causing the sustainable farming practices such as seed saving and intercropping to be passed over . This chapter also discusses the influence of the donor community in shaping agricultural policies and the potential threats to farmers’ rights, particularly regarding seed exchange. Overall, this section highlights the challenges faced by small-scale family farmers in Africa and the negative consequences of the dominance of agribusiness and industrial agriculture. It calls for a more inclusive and sustainable approach to agricultural development that prioritizes the needs and well-being of farmers and local communities. The Second part of Eating Tomorrow highlights the legal challenges and resistance faced by local farmers and advocacy groups in Mexico. It also addresses the issue of contamination and the potential threats to maize biodiversity and human health while also threatening the already existing culture of Maize and the traditional way of life in Mexico.

Eating Tomorrow

Eating tomorrow touches on the sobering relating of nation’s governments being entranced by agribusiness and the green revolution. The agribusiness industry is focuses on solely their own profit and gains rather than aiding the farmers that provide the sustenance, though they have seemingly convinced everyone otherwise. The first few chapters touch on the adaptation of the Malawi people under the influences of their governments on personal gain and climate change. Many farmers had started use pesticides and herbicides to continue to produce their crops even in the face of either drought or flooding. One of the most impressive stories being the Malawi Miracle which details a struggling community that was able to adapt and change the narrative by using the resources around them and new, innovative techniques to provide food for their communities. The author even touches on the community demonstrating to their president and government the low cost benefits of farming and working with nature, rather than continuously fighting against it. The second half of the reading touched on communities in Mexico continuously pushing for the reduction of genetically mutated (GM) corn being farmed. As the GM corn would threaten the diversity of Maize, the communities believed that it was their right to promote the conservation of the seed’s diversity. However, Mexico , at the time, was a large player in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that had a demanding agriculture sector. My favorite quote from this reading is “the innovation comes from the producers.” As local farmers started to create ways of separating the GM crops from the native maize crops that were in fact thriving and providing the resources needed in the community. Even through this all they were able to convince their government that the GM crops were actually harmful and posed threats to Mexico’s agricultural sector. Both these communities took the conditions of their climates in stride but also fought for their beliefs on what is the best for themselves and their countries when it comes to providing food.

Eating Tomorrow- Bryce Ridge

Eating Tomorrow primarily focuses on the governments growing involvement within agriculture throughout the world. Farmers and lawmakers do not see eye to eye when it comes to regulations and decision making, which has big consequences for the food that is grown and these farmers livelihood. The first chapter talks about the threats climate change has posed for agriculture and farmers. The change in typical weather makes it difficult for farmers to be consistent with their crops and have good outputs. The way this was seen to be fixed was by mutating seeds so they would be able to withstand adversity and adapt over time. This seems like a good idea however the small countries that see the climate change affecting their crops the most do not have the funds for these seeds. They are more expensive and you must buy them year after year, as opposed to re-using from previous year crops. The second chapter is about Malawi and the foot shortages they face. The rising population was too fast for the crops, leading to a shortage for the people. There was a brief period when they no longer faced shortage, due to government providing fertilizers and such to make smaller farms bigger and more successful, however the shortage returned. Lastly we look at ‘Maize’ and the massive role it plays in Mexico and the peoples diet. GMO’s were introduced, however farmers heavily protested their use because they were not fans of the chemicals. And the wind and elements would push these seeds into their crops causing cross pollination.

eating tomorrow and corn’s garden of eden in mexico

Garden of eden: The main conflicts that farmers are trying to grapple with is embracing agro-ecology and how outside factors bring in GM maize into mexico. The author talks about how the mexican government started playing a part in agriculture and how GM’s are effecting mexican grown maize. Another big thing that was brought up is how GM’s and agriculture as a whole is affecting climate change because the quality of the soil and even the amount of rain that pours all plays a factor in if a farmer is going to succeed or not. Another big thing that was brought up was using GM’s or using agro ecological practices because agro businesses kept pushing the idea of using GM’s onto mexican farmers because it would create a bigger profit for them but it was terrible for the environment because they would be constantly using harsh chemicals and fertilizers into the soil which would suck the nutrients out it. On the other hand using agro ecological practices while may be helpful for the environment it isn’t rational for farmers to use them because like what Suarez told the author, he’s tired of US environmentalists also playing a hand in ANEC farms. He’s trying to look for survival, lower cost, and increase independence not protect the environment.

Eating tomorrow: One of the big things that is mentioned is how outside help especially from the US like from the bill and melinda gates foundation isn’t helping the root cause of the food issue in africa and is mainly pushing the use of harsh chemicals and seed variants to create a chain of dependence through supply chains while also keeping the farmers poor. Another big thing the author mentioned is the “Malawi Miracle” Malawi is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa that has food growing in every single square inch of land that was open and while it’s not a lot of food they were able to keep their citizens fed. After another crop fall in 2005 the government decided to take a stand against World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Advice and launched a broad based government subsidizes for small scale farmers to buy seeds and fertilizers and it worked. This program stunned skeptics and doomsayers because it put a direct line of products to the farmers and completely cut out the middleman that a lot of other places uses that keeps farmers without profit. Just like the other story being dependent on synthetic seeds and fertilizers isn’t rational because Malawi is generally poor so it makes no sense why farmers would have a need to use synthetic products because it’s really expensive and also isn’t good for the environment.

Blog Post #8 – Eating Tomorrow

In this reading, The author discusses the relationship between agriculture and food. The first chapter covers agriculture in Africa and how climate change has affected it. The reading mentions the formation of two major organizations The  Alliance for a Green Revolution In Africa (AGRA) and The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. This chapter discusses how this new Green Revolution has caused some problems for Africa as it had stopped using the old tech that many had grown accustomed to leaving out major components like irrigation, infrastructure and credit and marketing support. 

In the second chapter the author discusses the Malawi miracle, a story of agricultural success in a country that had been struggling with hunger for a long time. A series of disasters had left the country in despair facing a famine crisis and the government scrambling to pick up the pieces.  The country seemed to be suffering from an issue of simply not having a strong enough crop production system for the ever growing population leading to a very large death toll by hunger. Then the government founded a new program called the Farm Input Subsidy Program. This new program helped bring maize production to a record high. Around this time farmers also started to create their own ways to combat famine and a low production rate by moving away from hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers and instead creating their own system. 

In the seventh chapter the author discusses Mexico’s corn industry and how the government attempted to make a turn toward genetically modified corn. This decision wasn’t popular with the public as they believed that the new corn could seriously harm the country’s native plant and crop system.A group of around fifty-three people along with a group of organizations created an injunction along with a petition aiming to ban GMO corn. These events aimed to combat the government’s anti farmer policies. In the end the injuction still remains in place.

Blog Post #8

In this reading, Eating Tomorrow, the author talks in the introduction about government interest and involvement in agriculture. The author talks about the relationship between agribusiness companies and the government in the United States, saying that policymakers and farmers were convinced that their interests were aligned with each other in order to promote policy. In Chapter 1, the author touches on how climate change has posed many challenges to farmers and is making it difficult to keep crops healthy. A proposed solution to this was genetically modified seeds. However, smaller countries have seen more of an effect from climate change as they do not have the resources to combat it. Chapter 2 focuses on challenges in Malawi such as people often going hungry. Though the country had plenty of crops, it could not keep up with the demand of the growing population. The government decided to launched government subsidies for the country’s smaller farmers to buy seed and fertilizers in hopes of increasing production, and it did work. However, after a few years the country again faced challenges with having enough food and with climate change. Chapter 7 talks about the Mexican farming industry and its experience with the push for GMOs in corn. Farmers in Mexico did not support the introduction of genetically modified corn, as they thought it would threaten the native crops. To these farmers, keeping their crops away from GMOs was apart of protecting their national identity.

Eating Tomorrow blog post by Suzanne Ferraro

In the reading, Eating Tomorrow, the introduction mentioned that the African government representatives were interested in agricultural development. I noted that the reading mentioned Southern Africa had its own climate adaptation strategies. It mentioned that the goal is not to use more fossil fuels. I thought it was fascinating on page five of the introduction of Eating Tomorrow, that agribusiness companies have such a powerful hold in the United States that they convinced policymakers and even many farmers that their interests are completely aligned. This means that as a point of US policy, the government would advocate to other governments on behalf of the US and US corporate interests. I thought it was interesting how it mentions that in Africa, the continent is heavily dependent on the need for agricultural development because of the climate challenges and lack of rain. The continent is dependent on farming.

In Chapter One of the reading, I thought it was interesting how climate change is making it increasingly difficult to grow crops successfully. In response, corporate and philanthropic leaders have proposed genetically modified seed technologies. It has become more difficult in small countries to grow crops because of the land and the hot temperatures. I thought it was important that we understand in Chapter One of the reading, it mentioned that effective irrigation is as important as modified crop seeds. But clearly, local farmers are skeptical about modified seeds.

In Chapter 2, I noticed that the government and businesses wanted to help support farmers in a food crisis and offer them a solution, but in a particular way of how farmers should grow more and export it to other places. Given the challenges with the land and farming land, I think it is harder in Malawi. I thought it was interesting that the reading demonstrates the importance of climate change and the challenges and growth, especially the abundance of nutritious foods to prevent famine, without relying on expensive seeds and fertilizers that were offered as the solutions. Also, the reading shows that sometimes, the quicker fix does not seem like the best long-term solution.  I found it important that a solution needs crop diversity to improve the health of the soil. I thought it was interesting that the chapter mentions the challenges, especially with farming, and how GM impacts native plants and harms them in the long run.

I thought the second reading on Mexican corn was thought-provoking. The second part of the reading talked a lot about farming, especially on page 179, where the biotech industries called for “greater scientific objectivity” to encourage the Mexican government to adopt their desired goal of planting a certain type of GMO corn. I thought it was interesting how, on page 182, it mentioned that the Mexican government had disbanded its biosafety commission. One key point of the reading was that Mexican law had stipulated that GMO maize could be planted, but not in any area of Mexico where it would be planted in the center of origin. Some people viewed the center of origin as the entire country to prevent the cross-contamination of the corn industry.

In part two of the reading I thought a key point happened when, in 2009, Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, including other multicultural companies, petitioned the Mexican government for land especially for the commercial production of genetically modified GMO corn. Farmers wanted to ban the genetic modification of corn or petition, arguing that it would threaten the native corn in Mexico’s maize diversity. Corn was such an important part of Mexico’s culture, and modifications were viewed as impacting the identity and importance of the entire corn industry.

I learned that some nonprofit organizations work to promote and conserve seed diversity especially with GMO and how local farmers need to grow their crops and to look out for their own future, the integrity of their crops, and future varieties by isolating crops of corn from one another. I believe that farmers should protect the crops that they are growing, especially because corporate interests and global interests do not always look out for the individual farmer. I thought it was interesting how the fact that plant genetic modification could impact other plants that could be grown depending on the environment. GMO corn has been shown to have traces of glyphosate that has been linked to cancer. My view of this week’s readings is that government policy interests and corporate interests do not always look out for the long-term interests of the farmer or the crops that are important to a country.

The Taste of Place

The author is a cultural anthropologist who studies food culture. “Gout du terroir” means taste of place, and this is experienced by how other countries label their wine by where it was grown, as it is classified by location. The wine quality depends on soil, climate, and other regional differences. We eat little of what is available to us because every culture prioritizes taste, and what tastes good varies greatly depending on the culture of a place. The author explains that the United States has a much more globalized everyday diet than most other nations but still contests that regional differences exist as well. The AOC laws in France “guarantee the possibility of local control” by labeling food with where it came from, which empowers the local growers and connects consumers to the place their food comes from. The United States does not have legislation like this; when you drink milk, for example, it is a mystery which combination of cows produced that gallon of milk and where in the country they came from. Moreover, French farming (except for in the north-central region) still revolves around the small family-owned farm, which helps to retain connections between food and community. However, because of a decline in people’s ability to “evaluate and appreciate food,” there is a push in France that young consumers need to be taught how to develop their sense of discernment, so each October, French schools give lessons on taste.

In Vermont, wheat and sheep farming began to decline by 1870, but dairy farming prospered with the high demand for milk and cheese. Today, Vermont’s cattle/calf population is nearly half its human population. The back-to-land movement began meeting in the 1970s to discuss organic farming practices, and today there are 355 certified organic farms in Vermont. The Vermont Fresh Network linked farmers and chefs together to allow for “farm-to-table” cooking that incorporated fresh, local produce. Farmers also got a larger share of food dollars spent in Vermont. Vermont additionally has high levels of “cuisine tourism” because of the beauty of the natural landscape. Vermont maple syrup is used as an example of a food with a strong sense of “taste of place,” as it is labeled and clearly recognized as being a food of Vermont and originating there. The author argues that is crucial that consumers have information about what they are eating in an attempt to preserve the taste of place because society is becoming increasingly globalized, and most consumers have no idea where the food they are eating originated from. The taste of place goes beyond brand. Taste of place also ties directly into the slow food movement because it is important to appreciate where your food comes from.