The evolution of a predatory food system now feeding us "kibble"
Much of the world – rich north and poor south – is drowning in an ocean of hyperpalatable, addictive fakery masquerading as food.
Much of that fakery has fed our disconnect with natural food production cycles and practices.
And it’s left most of us in a food muddle – moral, environmental, nutritional.
We latch on to our dietary tribe with conviction but what if our beliefs are based on a limited understanding of the evolution of global food production? And no understanding of how powerful multinationals control every aspect of it.
James Connolly is our guide to how we became the unwitting victims of a food system captured by big corporations driven by profit, not public health.
“You’re taken out of the equation. The consumer has no real choices. They walk through the supermarket and think they’re getting a variety of products but really it’s wholly owned by about 13 multinational corporations that control about 90% of our system.”
He views the American capitalist system as “socialism for the rich” and farmers as “modern-day heroes in a feudal state, they have no control over their land, it’s owned by the bank”.
James questions how it has come to be that all so-called solutions to global warming take industrial capitalism as a given and nature must conform to it.
“Monoculture seems to be the biggest problem we have whether it’s chickens, almonds or avocado farms… When you build a system based on that, you in essence have to destroy everything in that environment to grow the food. You have to bring in enormous amounts of resources, water…You build a system that has no resiliency other than excising this stuff from all different parts of the planet..”
James is a chef and Real Food advocate who transformed the food systems of inner-city schools in New York with his non-profit The Bubble Foundation. At no extra cost to the city’s food budget, kids sat at round dining tables and helped themselves to nutrient-rich dishes cooked on site.
He co-produced the documentary Sacred Cow, directed by Diana Rodgers, financed the marketing of Michael Moore’s provocative Where to Invade Next (a must watch), and is producing Death in the Garden, a documentary promising a sober look at industrial civilisation, our “misguided attempts to resolve climate change”, and how life always involves death.
James is a voracious reader with an historian’s head for facts and stories. You’ll love this episode and want to read every one of his desert island book picks. It was tough, but he managed to confine himself to just the five I asked for.
- Sacred Cow
- Death in the Garden
- That Climate One podcast on Cowspiracy featuring Nicolette Hahn Niman, vegetarian cattle rancher, author of Defending Beef –
- Video highlights of Climate One debate about Cowspiracy doc
- James’ Top 5 reads:
- Ishmael by Danial Quinn
- If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways by Daniel Quinn
- The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles Mann
- Shibumi by Trevanian
- The Tragedy of American Science by Clifford D Connor
- James is also an artist! Discover his work here
- James on Twitter
- James on Instagram
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- Hosted + produced by Susan Flory
- Music: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin Koc