Posts Tagged ‘food sovereighnty’

What Commercials Teach Us (hint: NO YOU CAN’T FEED YOURSELF)

So I’m binge watching Hulu these days. Signed up for the service to watch The Handmaid’s Tale and have been cruising through the other offerings when I have time. I am frugal (read cheap) so I signed up for the level of service where you have to watch commercials. Which would be a pain except I have noticed a couple of things. First, and the more minor of the two, all the ads in the first episode of Handmaid were for the armed forces. Air Force, Marines, etc. Now think about that for a minute. This dystopian tale about fascist military men co-opting women and their uteruses, meant to appeal to liberal-minded, tinfoil-hat-wearers like me, being sponsored by the military industrial complex. Is this what is meant by irony? I think so.

Eventually the commercials changed and then came the one that really pissed me off. It is a Hormel ad, and as much as I hate giving them more bandwidth I need to talk about it. In it a new age guru is having his retreat guests (?) share what food they have foraged from the wild. As he goes around the table each person is more and more disheveled and beaten up by this supposedly horribly difficult task of producing their own food. Watch it and see:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=086KVrtI2I8I

The message being: don’t you dare even try to think about producing your own food. It is just too hard! And the cult like “join us, you know you want to” from the actress at the end of the scene is just plain blood curdling.

So let’s talk about feeding yourself versus buying mass produced crap from CAFOs. (CAFOs are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, what used to be stockyards and are now inhuman holding pens, for livestock while they are feed hormone laced grain in preparation for slaughter. They are producers of vast amounts of fecal waste, a noxious stew of mud and urine and shit, that contaminates not only that land but the waters and land around it.) They tried in North Carolina recently to protect the surrounding area from these nasty operations. The Governor vetoed the bill and the Senate overrode his veto saying essentially, “this is just a bunch of out of state crybabies and sleazy lawyers. Our industrial farmers have a right to be as obnoxious as they want and especially if they contribute to our campaigns.” To quote the article: “the twenty-six federal lawsuits at the heart of much of the debate were filed by a North Carolina-based law firm against a $14 billion Chinese-owned multinational corporation on behalf of mostly low-income African-American plaintiffs.” There is no protecting of the small family farm going on here. It is straight up corporate greed. The kind that the Hormel ad is promoting. Don’t you dare think you can feed yourself!

But we must remember what Fannie Lou Hamer said: “You can give a man some food, and he’ll eat it,” she liked to say, in a paraphrase of the common proverb. “Then he’ll only get hungry again. But give a man some ground of his own and a hoe, and he’ll never go hungry again.” and from the same article “If we have that land,….can’t anybody starve us out.”

I just learned this about Fannie Lou. I had always known of her as a voting rights activist but DAMN she was a food sovereignty activist before there was even a word for it. “In the late 1960s, as the civil rights movement shifted to address economic injustice, Ms. Hamer conceived agricultural solutions to the plight of her fellow Americans, including a communal farm and livestock share program in Sunflower County in the Mississippi Delta. That work set the stage for the progressive agricultural policies and practices of today, with their focus on food sovereignty and their reliance on community farms.”

Go read the whole article and then (and it is the season for it) go plant some food!