Food for thought!

Pankhuri Singh
pankhuri@delhigreens.org 

Today there are more than six billion people on this planet, all needing to EAT, and we have seen the rise to power of giant multinational corporations, eager to exploit the opportunity of such a vast global market. In order to produce more and more food, either to feed hungry people or to satisfy the WANTS–as distinct from the NEEDS-of today’s materialistic urban elite, agricultural methods have changed.

The aim of the ever more powerful corporations, with the support of government they help to bring to power, is to produce as much as food possible, as cheaply as possible with maximum profit for the shareholders.

We live in an era when the poisoning of earth, water and air by agricultural chemicals is making people, animals and environment SICK! An era when tropical rain forests are clear cut to grow corn to feed to cattle .When animals raised for food are farmed more and more intensively without SPACE or DIGNITY and FED RICH, often UNNATURAL foods to ensure that they put on as much weight, or produce as much milk, or lay as many eggs as possible, in shortest time, for the greatest profit per animal per day.

Most of us have NO IDEA that these corporations control increasing areas of farmland around the world along with the increasing numbers of seeds from which our food is grown-in monocultures in huge and POISONED fields. Most people don’t know that the corporations have taken over the production of meat as well. Or that they are gradually FORCING OUT the last of the traditional small family farmers! Nor have most people realized the speed with which multinational corporations are taking over local grocery stores that once sold local produce. Indeed, many of our regional foods, our rich diversity of crops are now considered ENDANGERED because of the CORPORATION CONTROL OVER OUR FOOD AND CULTURE.

The trouble is, industrial farming typically harms the farmland itself. In older days farmers rotated their crops and their livestock, and often allowed fields to lie fallow for a year every so often. With this kind of consideration, the land remained fertile for hundred of years. But when agribusiness steps in and takes over, commonsense land management goes out of the window. The big corporations are interested in IMMEDIATE PROFIT FOR THE SHORT TERM and show little concern for future generations. More and more land, worldwide, is gradually being killed by libations of chemical fertilizers along with chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

A monoculture again is like putting all eggs in one basket! So that if a farmer loses his one and only crop-as a result of disease or adverse weather-he will suffer TERRIBLY. In the old days there would have been another kind of crop coming along to help keep his bank balance healthy. So, naturally the modern farmer is desperate to keep his one and only crop alive. He adds more and more of chemical fertilizers (many of which contain lead, arsenic and at times mercury-often introduced through the introduction of sewage sludge fertilizer) to the soil and sprays chemical pesticides on the crop. Eventually the soil becomes COMPLETELY DEPLETED OF NUTRIENTS and the farm’s entire ecosystem becomes dependent on CHEMICAL LIFE SUPPORT. Perhaps this explains the part of the reason of FARMER SUICIDES in India or anywhere else.

Did you know that EACH YEAR ABOUT THREE MILLION TONS OF FARM CHEMICALS ARE APPLIED TO THE SURFACE OF THIS PLANET? The damage done by these CHEMICAL ASSASSINS CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED! They escape into the environment, evaporate into the jet stream and fall in our rain and snowflakes; they are lifted by the wind and drift into our backyards, our play grounds, our preserved wilderness areas and even our organic farms; they sink into the soil and leach into our groundwater, reservoirs and wells; they find their way into our lakes, rivers and oceans; and of course, they can end up in the bodies of animals and US!

As documented by Prince Charles in 1998, “We simply do not know the long-term consequences for human health and the wider environment. If something does go badly wrong, we will be faced with the problem of clearing a kind of pollution which is self-perpetuating, I am not convinced that anyone has the first idea of how this could be done”.Food for thought

I believe its time we UNDERSTOOD and VALUE our relationship
with food so that it DOES take us to healthy thoughts!

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Dr. Govind Singh
About 

Dr. Govind Singh is an Environmentalist, Academician and Consultant based in Delhi and is the Co-Founder of Delhi Greens NGO. He holds a Master's and Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of Delhi. Dr. Govind Singh has over six years experience of teaching in the University of Delhi and over twelve years experience of working in the Environmental Sector.

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