Week 12 Blog Post

This week’s reading, Timothy A. Wise’s Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, delves into the problems with feeding the world and how different countries across the globe are addressing these issues, typically with the presence of powerful agribusinesses that take advantage of poor workers and utilize poor farming practices and food policies through environmentally damaging GMOs and fertilizers. One of the core concepts that Wise presents is the conflict between the GMO-led “climate-stupid agriculture” of large agricultural corporations and the sustainable, eco-friendly agriculture of small-scale farmers in Africa that Wise believes should be leading the way when it comes to the future of agriculture. Clearly there is an imbalance in priorities between the profit-hungry agribusinesses that largely dominate the agricultural world and are solely focused on making money quickly, and the small-scale farmers that are victims of the negative effects climate change and are trying to grow food not only for today, but also for tomorrow. Not only is there an imbalance in priorities, but there is also an imbalance in power, and it is apparent that aspects of racism and the “White Man’s Burden” mentality are ingrained this conflict. Wise seems to assert that there is an element of Americans not only thinking they need to solve the problems of starvation and poverty in Africa, but also that they easily can, mostly through funding African governments to use harmful GMOs and fertilizers, instead of attempting to address structural issues with more permanent and eco-friendly solutions. However, the author also discusses the fact that it is not possible for these small-scale farms to be completely self-reliant and some sort of cooperation is necessary for long-term results and overall successful and environmentally friendly farming. Wise later discusses the issue of genetically modified (GM) corn in Mexico. In 2009, several multinational agro-chemical companies pressured the Mexican government into allowing them to commercially produce GM corn, infuriating several individuals and organizations who believed GM corn should be banned as the gene flow from GM corn would inevitably transfer to native corn and potentially ruin the diversity of maize in Mexico. Throughout the chapter, Wise describes the huge importance of the maintenance of maize diversity for small Mexican farmers to continue to produce their maize and make a living, which is why many activists and protestors have tried to stick up against the big agro-corporations attempting to tarnish that with GM corn. Maize is a cornerstone of the typical Mexican diet, especially that of the underprivileged, and lack of diversity of maize caused by the presence of GM corn could lead to less availability of maize across the country. Essentially, this presence of GM corn in Mexico being pushed by these large agro-chemical corporations is a direct attack on food sovereignty and food security for the Mexican people. Overall, it is clear that these large multinational agribusinesses and corporations have a lot of power in today’s agricultural landscape, but small scale farmers are doing their best to continue to farm the right way and fight against these inconsiderate and dangerous corporations, leading the way for the future of agriculture.

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