#TheFoodWeWant Global Day of Action Against Corporate Control of Food Systems | April 22, Earth Day

+ Soft Launch of the Global People’s Summit on Food Systems

Background

There has been an upsurge in grassroots push to change how and for whom we produce food amid the worsening hunger and destitution of the world’s poor, including ironically of the direct producers of food. The COVID-19 pandemic both exposed the structural flaws of the global food systems—currently unjust, inequitable, unhealthy and unsustainable—and underscored the urgent need for a truly radical transformation.

The global food system has been entrenched in a complex architecture built on profit-driven exploitation, oppression and plunder – depriving food producers of their right to land and resources, starving the population amid abundance, and pushing our planetary boundaries to a point of no return.

Transnational corporations (TNCs) and their lobbyists are constantly trying to squeeze every drop of profit in the food and agriculture sector by introducing more layers of corporate capture such as public-private partnerships, financialization, and digitalization. As if their current control over food and agriculture systems wasn’t enough, TNCs are vying for even bigger market dominance and expanding its sphere of influence in public policy spaces, particularly the UN.

The United Nations’ Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that will be held in September 2021 promises “new actions to transform the way the world produces and consumes food.” However, the blueprint for the Summit appears to have stemmed from the UN’s 2019 Strategic Partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), a platform for the global economic elite to promote the corporate agenda in the guise of “improving the state of the world.” By financing Agenda 2030, the WEF is ensuring that global governance perpetuates neoliberal policies in food and agriculture and promotes market-oriented “solutions” and techno-fixes to hunger and climate change. Capitalist-philanthropic organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation—which have been responsible for much of the world’s food producers’ dependence on corporate-controlled hazardous technologies—are also said to have underwritten the Summit’s organization.

Corporate capture in the UNFSS is made evident by the appointment of Agnes Kalibata (president of the Gates-funded Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, which supports chemical-intensive farming and the adoption of GM crops in the region), as UN Special Envoy for the Summit. Corporate capture—or “the means by which an economic elite undermine the realization of human rights and the environment by exerting undue influence over domestic and international decision-makers and public institutions”—is further being materialized through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) strategic alliance with CropLife International. An agreement signed last October 2020 between the UN FAO and the world’s biggest pesticide industry association pledges closer cooperation, threatening to undercut, among others, the UN agency’s commitments to agroecology as an alternative to a food and farming system heavily reliant on toxic pesticides that are estimated to poison 385 million people annually and cause massive ecosystem damage.

With the aim to demand food systems which put people’s fundamental rights above profit, our planet over corporations, and our sovereignty over monopolies, people’s movements and civil society organisations are launching a campaign for just, equitable, healthy and sustainable food systems. Called the #Hungry4Change campaign, it will culminate in a Global People’s Summit on Food Systems in September, as a counter-event to the UNFSS and to present an actionable, pro-people and pro-planet alternative to radically transform the food system.

Objectives

On April 22, Earth Day, a Global Day of Action Against Corporate Control of Food Systems can serve as an initial launching pad of people’s aspirations for a just, equitable, healthy and sustainable food systems. Initiated by the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) and the PAN Asia Pacific, the global action has the following objectives:

  • To register people’s voices against corporate capture in food and agriculture (or the increasing influence of agri-food corporations in domestic and international decision-making), including, but not limited to, the UN-WEF Strategic Partnership and the FAO-CropLife #ToxicAlliance
  • To register demands for people-centered food systems anchored on the human right to food, right to land and resources, food sovereignty, and agroecology
  • To introduce the Global People’s Summit on Food Systems to the general publicas a counter-event to the UNFSS

Ways to participate

  • On-the-ground actions – If possible, protests at headquarters of agrochemical companies, food conglomerates, agriculture department offices, FAO offices; can also be in the form of local food fairs, gatherings, discussions, or other such activities that carry both local/national and global demands regarding corporate control of our food systems.
  • Online actions – post and share on social media protest photos, videos, or statements. Use the hashtag #TheFoodWeWant and make it trend!

Recognizing the limits on mobility amid the ongoing pandemic, and to draw the participation of the broader public across the globe, we issue the call for online actions that can be done in homes or in farms.

Both food producers and consumers can post photos or videos of food or themselves with food/food crops, with a blurb or caption expressing the kind of food the people want—food that represents just, equitable, healthy and sustainable food systems:

#TheFoodWeWant is ____(examples: organic, non-GMO, not junk, healthy, locally-produced, indigenous, puts farmers first, does not enrich Monsanto, is not linked to deforestation/land grabbing, is grown in harmony with nature, does not destroy the planet, does not poison farmers/the soil/water, in the hands of the people, nutritious and affordable, etc etc)___

  • Join the banner activity of our global day of action “#TheFoodWeWant: A Round Table Discussion on the Corporate Control of Food Systems and Its Impacts.” Register now: http://bit.ly/TheFoodWeWantRTD

The RTD, which will be held 9 to 11 p.m. Manila time on the same day, will 1) discuss the latest developments on how corporations exercise control over food and agriculture and influence public policies through the featured resource speakers and 2) tackle the on-the-ground impacts of corporate control of food systems. It will highlight the following topics: the UN Food Systems Summit, the FAO-Croplife Alliance, centralization of CGIAR & digitalization in agriculture, and land grabbing & role of Bill Gates.

Our calls:

End Corporate Control of Food Systems!

Just, Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems Now!

Stop FAO-CropLife #ToxicAlliance! No to Corporate Capture!

Sever UN-World Economic Forum Partnership! No to Corporate Capture!

Uphold People’s Food Sovereignty!

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