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Food travels

  • Subject: [cg] Food travels
  • From: "Ken Hargesheimer" minifarms@gmail.com
  • Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 13:48:22 -0500

I am on a listserve out of India and this was posted.  Ken Hargesheimer

Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 15:47:13 +0530

   From: "Kisan Mehta" <kisansbc@vsnl.com

Subject: Fw: Eating (up) the World - DW

 Dear Colleagues,

 Here is an eye opener!  How food travels from growing countries to
consumers in rich countries at a risk of death and starvation to the
poor in growing countries. Best wishes.

Kisan Mehta        Priya Salvi       Rajiv Bhatt


620, Jame Jamshed Road, Dadar East,

Mumbai - 400 014

Tel: 0091 22 24149688

 ----- Forwarded Message -----

           Eating (up) the World

                Scene from Erwin Wagenhofer's documentary 'We feed the world'

(Austria, 2006)

              "We feed the world - Essen global" is the most
successful documentary in Austrian history. Its subject is the global
food industry, but the film is an appeal to Austrian, European and
western audiences in general to rethink just what havoc they might be
wreaking by their very choice of the menu.

       "We must change the way we live" is the basic message of this
merciless take on the modern food industry. Director Erwin Wagenhofer
wanted to know where the europeans got their foodstuffs from - and got
some pretty disturbing answers. He followed the trail of the tomatoes
from the Naschmarkt market in Vienna back to gigantic greenhouses in
Spain, and chicken breast cutlets on the shelves of supermarkets back
to industrial feeding farms. This was followed by a further question:
why was it that mountains of surplus foodstuff were being disposed of
year after year in Europe, while so many people were dying of hunger
in other parts

of the world.

      "A child that dies of hunger today, has been murdered"

      In the film, UN hunger expert Jean Ziegler makes the rather
startling statement: "World agriculture is capable of feeding 12
billion people with ease, which means that a child that dies of hunger
today, has been murdered." A whole series of interlocutors, of many
nations and professions, air their opinion in the film, but none so
often and so repeatedly as Jean Ziegler. Otherwise Wagenhofer takes
his camera to Brazil, where thousands of hectares of primary
rainforest have been

sacrificed for the purpose of growing soya for cattle feed in Austria.

Vincent Josi Puhl has a rather pithy way of putting it: "European
cattle are eating up the Amazon rainforest."

       "A company does not have a heart"

       The 'Pioneer' company is the world's biggest producer of crop
seeds - and Karl Otrok is Pioneer's production chief in Romania.
Standing in the middle of Pioneer's fields Otrok has no difficulty -
or trepidation - in confessing: "You know, we've ruined the West and
now we've come to Romania and we're going to ruin the whole
agriculture here. After all, a company is just a company. And a
company does not have a heart."

In France, Wagenhofer speaks to a French fisherman, Philippe Cleuziou,
who takes a dubious look at his day's catch and says: "It's like this.
I wouldn't eat that stuff. It's not meant for eating, it's meant for
selling. That's the way we put it." Nestli chief Peter Brabeck paces
his luxurious office and speaks coolly and objectively about water
being just another commodity - like any other foodstuff - that should
be bought and sold on the open market. Elsewhere in the film one sees
poor Brazilian peasants worrying about water pollution because the
water makes their children fall sick.

      "We must change the way we live"

       Wagenhofer's film is also about political awareness, in that
sense: "If you go to a supermarket in Europe, you can buy Argentine
grapes in the middle of winter - and at a laughable price: roughly, a
kilo of grapes for around 4 kilos of kerosene. Question is: is that
what we want?" As Wagenhofer pointed out in an exclusive interview
with DW-WORLD.DE, the possibility of influencing much larger processes
of commerce and politics simply by deciding - consciously - to eat
certain things and

not to eat others: this possibility has been indicated in the title
itself. "If we intend to find a rational and realistic mode of
coexistence, then we must change the way we live. That's why the film
is called 'We feed the world' and not 'They feed the world'."

       It's quite possible that people who've seen the film will think
twice before entering a supermarket the next time. 'We feed the world'
has had an able predecessor in Morgan Spurlock's 'Super Size Me',
which created a furore in America by highlighting the fattening
effects of fast food. Both films are an appeal to think about the kind
of food we eat. But 'We feed the world' goes a step further: it shows
that the individual consumer's choice and decision is not without its
working in the larger commercial-industrial context - the rest being a
matter of will.

       Irhne Bluche (asc)

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