Friday, November 19, 2010

The Politics of Food

Thanksgiving is in less than a week, and ISO Pittsburgh member Russell Pryor has put together a fantastic presentation-and-discussion event entitled "The Politics of Food" that we'll be hosting on Tuesday, November 23rd at 7:30 p.m.

Below is a preview of Russell's presentation.

The modern food industry is inherently inhumane and unsustainable. The herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and, increasingly, genetically modified crops that make the modern industrial agricultural system run hurt most everyone and everything involved. The production process destroys groundwater and soil and disrupts local ecosystems while simultaneously poisoning farm workers, rural communities, and, eventually, consumers. Much of the grain produced in this agro-industrial system ends up in antibiotic-laced feeds for livestock and poultry. "Confined animal feeding operations" (or CAFOs, as these factories are called) produce millions more tons of waste than rural ecosystems can take on, and serve as ideal breeding grounds for pathogens. Debt-strapped contract farmers operate under the iron hell of fewer and fewer corporations, and the men and women who catch and process their animals work in some of the lowest paying, most dangerous jobs in the country. The regulatory system in this country is, in many ways, a cruel joke. More than anything, it provides us with a false sense of security.

On the retail and restaurant end of the system, millions of workers, many of them young and virtually all of them underpaid and highly exploited, cook and serve our food, stock the shelves, or ring us up every day. Obesity and related diseases have reached epidemic proportions, along with other eating disorders. Nicely arranged supermarket aisles, colorful, eye-catching advertisements, and pleasant, seemingly sterile packaging obscure all of this from view. Chicken McNuggets, after all don't have a backstory; they're just Chicken McNuggets... Not so much.

Join the Pittsburgh branch of the International Socialist Organization for a presentation and discussion about how we all got into such a sad state and, most importantly, how we work to remake our food system.

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