Wednesday, October 09, 2013

McGill's Global Food Security Conference

It's 4:25 a. m. And I can't sleep. Today McGill University is hosting a Global Food Security Conference that is sponsored by Syngenta.

Historically, industrialization has been opposed to food security, and the process of industrialization removed people from their life on the land, and took from people that special kind of dignity that one has when one can sustain oneself from the land where one lives. It moved people from their traditional rural agricultural communities and pressed them into urban poverty where we live precariously, and must do what industry demands of us or become homeless and hungry. Industrialization cleared the commons. Industrialization did this in the distant past in Britain and in Canada, but it is doing it today elsewhere. Modernization has moved us away from the land personally by demanding that our energies be spent specializing and producing patentable knowledge products.

The attendees of the food security conference ought to know that in order for people to be food secure, people need to stop globalizing and deregulating capitalization on agriculture and the processes of food production.

However, I am not advocating socialized agriculture at this time. The presence of agricultural industry throughout our decision-making institutions would likely turn any attempt by us to socialize agriculture toward the further establishment and institutionalization of monoculture agriculture. Unfortunately, if we were to socialize agriculture at this time, and establish a right to food as we have a right to healthcare, the corruption of our political process would merely make herbicide-dependent monoculture mandatory. It would eliminate resilient, diverse, localized and organic agricultural operations altogether.

I am a Ph. D. candidate at McGill. During my time here, I studied the responses of canola plants to bacterial signal molecules. As someone who studies canola, I am perhaps particularly aware of how production and capital have steered research over the decades, and how unaccountable millions of dollars have been sunk into the development of dubious agriculture and biotechnology, based on the aspiration for gains to the quality of life for the researchers, and for the production of patents. Who knows what those millions of dollars would have been spent on, if the primary concern had not been capitalization upon the sale of the seed and crushing for oil.

Science has been abused to continue research and perpetuate the production of patents.

The perpetuation of monoculture agriculture has simplified and lobotomized the agricultural relationship between farmers and the land. Monoculture has increased the size of fields, and the size of the machinery, and the yield of corn and soybeans, but it has decreased our ability to produce a nutritious diet that would otherwise be composed of the diverse organisms that would or could live in ecosystems that have been drained and transformed into flat, eroding, genetically homogenous landscapes. The genetically homogenous landscapes that are advocated by the agricultural industry necessitate the use of fertilizer, which contaminates the water, and pesticides, which are poisons that cause disease and the destabilization of the food web.