Democracy Now!

Agriculture

27 results
  • Amy Goodman is on tour in California, where earlier this month more than 50 farmworkers in California were exposed to a highly toxic pesticide after it was greenlighted by the EPA in one of the agency’s first decisions since Trump took office.

  • Opening today around the U.S., the new film "Food Chains" documents the groundbreaking partnership between farm workers, Florida tomato farmers and some of the largest fast-food and grocery chains in the world. We are joined by one of the film’s key players, Gerardo Reyes-Chávez, a farm worker and organizer with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Reyes-Chávez has helped lead the group’s success getting 12 corporations to join their Fair Food Program — including McDonald’s, Taco Bell and, most recently, the retail giant Wal-Mart. Participants agree to pay a premium for the tomatoes in order to support a "penny per pound" bonus that is then paid to the tomato pickers. Soon, the Fair Food label will appear on Florida tomatoes at participating stores.

  • We spend the hour with Michael Pollan, one of the country’s leading writers and thinkers on food and food policy. Pollan has written several best-selling books about food, including "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," and "In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto." In his latest book, "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation," Pollan argues that taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make our food system healthier and more sustainable. "There is a deliberate effort to undermine food culture to sell us processed food," Pollan says. "The family meal is a challenge if you’re General Mills or Kellogg or one of these companies, or McDonald’s, because the family meal is usually one thing shared." Pollan also talks about the "slow food" movement. "Slow food is about food that is good, clean and fair. They’re concerned with social justice. They’re concerned with how the food is grown and how humane and chemical-free it is." He adds, "Slow food is about recovering that space around the family and keeping the influence of the food manufacturers outside of the house. ... The family meal is very important. It’s the nursery of democracy."

  • President Obama outraged food activists last week when he signed into law a spending bill with a controversial rider that critics have dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act." The rider says the government must allow the planting of genetically modified crops even if courts rule they pose health risks. The measure has galvanized the U.S. food justice movement, which is now preparing for its next fight when the provision expires in six months. We host a discussion on the "Monsanto Protection Act" and the safety of genetically modified foods with two guests: Gregory Jaffe, director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that addresses food and nutrition issues; and Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of the book, "Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America." On Wednesday, Hauter’s group is releasing a major new report called "Monsanto: A Corporate Profile." [includes rush transcript]

  • Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch, joins us to discuss her new book, "Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America." Hauter tackles the corporations behind the meat, vegetables, grains and milk consumed by millions every day — including some of the most popular organic brands. "Foodopoly" details how a handful of large corporations control the nation’s food production in ways that limit how small farms operate and how ordinary people make choices in grocery stores. And in the wake of the recently passed provision dubbed by critics as the "Monsanto Protection Act," Hauter also discusses the new report by Food & Water Watch, "Monsanto: A Corporate Profile." [includes rush transcript]

  • Of the 11 initiatives before the 2012 California electorate, one drawing perhaps the most attention is Proposition 37, on the labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Whether or not this ballot passes could have a significant impact on how our food system is organized, favoring small, local organic-food producers (if it passes), or allowing for the increased expansion of large, corporate agribusiness (if it fails).

  • On Election Day, California voters will decide on Proposition 37, which would make their state the first in the nation to require the labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The California Department of Public Health would be responsible for labeling everything from baby formula and instant coffee, to granola, canned soups and soy milk. Many major corporations, including Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Pepsi and Coke, are spending millions fighting the measure, which stands to impact labeling practices across the country. We host a debate on Prop 37 with two guests: Stacy Malkan, a longtime advocate for environmental health and spokesperson for the Yes on 37 California Right to Know campaign, and David Zilberman, professor of agricultural and resource economics at University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Center for Sustainable Resource Development. [includes rush transcript]

  • As California voters prepare to vote on whether to label GMOs in food, we go to Berkeley to discuss Prop 37 and its implications for the broader food system with journalist and best-selling author Michael Pollan. Among the nation’s leading writers and thinkers on food and food policy, Pollan is the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Journalism. He’s written several books about food, including "The Botany of Desire," "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," "In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto," "Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual," and the forthcoming "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation." [includes rush transcript]

  • From California’s Proposition 37 initiative to New York City’s soda ban, journalist and best-selling author Michael Pollan argues that local efforts hold the key to challenging the agricultural industry’s stranglehold over national food policy. With companies like Monsanto influencing Congress and state legislatures, Pollan warns the United States risks falling into a "two-class food system," where only those who can afford to live outside the industrial food system can access healthy ways to eat. Among the nation’s leading writers and thinkers on food and food policy, Pollan is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Journalism and author of several best-selling books, including "In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto." [includes rush transcript]

  • A quarter of a million Indian farmers have committed suicide in the last 16 years—an average of one suicide every 30 minutes. The crisis has ballooned with economic liberalization that has removed agricultural subsidies and opened Indian agriculture to the global market. Small farmers are often trapped in a cycle of insurmountable debt, leading many to take their lives out of sheer desperation. We speak with Smita Narula of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University Law School, co-author of a new report on farmer suicides in India. [includes rush transcript]

  • The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, joins us to discuss his recent warning that some 500 million small farmers in poor countries are suffering from hunger, partly because foreign countries and corporations have bought up large tracts of land. We’re also joined by Smita Narula, author of a new study suggesting that many of the land deals in Africa and South Asia lack transparency and could threaten local communities with eviction, undermine their livelihoods, and endanger their access to food. [includes rush transcript]

  • The salmonella outbreak is the most recent episode of many that point to a food industry run amok. Giant corporations, some with budgets larger than most nations, are controlling our health, our environment, our economy and increasingly, our elections.

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  • We speak with David Kirby about his book Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms on Humans and the Environment. "We need more regulations, and we need enforcement of the regulations," Kirby says. "These [food] companies are self-policing, and they are operating on the honor system. And consumers are obviously paying the price." [includes rush transcript]

  • Since the food crisis of 2008, food justice activists have warned that governments in concert with multinational corporations have accelerated a worldwide "land grab" to buy up vast swaths of arable land in poor countries. According to The Economist magazine, between 37 to 49 million acres of farmland were put up for sale in deals involving foreign nationals between 2006 and mid-2009. [includes rush transcript]

  • In Detroit, demolition crews are planning to tear down 10,000 residential buildings over the next four years that the city has deemed dangerous. But as old structures are coming down, the city is redefining itself in other ways. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the city’s lots are vacant, and there is a growing urban agriculture movement that community groups are using to reclaim the city. Malik Yakini, chairman of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, gives us a tour of D-Town Farm, one of the biggest urban farms in Detroit. [includes rush transcript]

  • Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, discusses the link between healthcare and diet, the dangers of processed foods, the power of the meat industry lobby, the “nutritional-industrial complex,” the impact industrial agriculture has on global warming, and his sixty-four rules for eating. "The markets are full of what I call edible food-like substances that you have to avoid," says Michael Pollan. "So a lot of the rules are to help you, you know, navigate that now very treacherous landscape of the American supermarket." Today we air an excerpt of the Oscar-nominated documentary Food, Inc. and then spend the rest of the show with Michael Pollan. [includes rush transcript]

  • President Obama’s nominee for the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the office of the US Trade Representative, Islam Siddiqui is currently a vice president at CropLife America, a coalition of the major industrial players in the pesticide industry, including Syngenta, Monsanto, and Dow Chemical. He was previously a lobbyist for CropLife and also served in the US Department of Agriculture under President Clinton and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. A coalition of over eighty environmental, family farm and consumer advocacy organizations have sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee urging them to reject his nomination. [includes rush transcript]

  • More than 49 million Americans — or one in seven — struggled to find enough to eat last year, according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture released Monday. That’s the highest total since the federal government began keeping track of food insecurity. Meanwhile, leaders from most of the world are gathered in Rome to tackle hunger on a global scale at the UN World Food Summit, but leaders of the world’s richest countries were largely absent from the summit. We speak with Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System. [includes rush transcript]

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