I remember, when it was me and not her, there was a song that kept coming up on the radio. I sat there motionless in the passenger seat of the car, my head against the window, as my mother drove me to and from the hospital. And I fell into that same slow song, pretended it was my own pulse as it came out of the great looping playlist that was the radio station.
Many years later, when I fly to Auckland for my mother’s surgery, I’m much more restless. Only hours before my flight, my mother calls me to say that her surgery on Tuesday has been moved to Monday instead. And I’m just lucky that I had originally bought my flights to arrive a day early as well. I feel like I need to quicken my pace, but the schedules around me—playing through predetermined departures and arrivals—keep me locked in and unable to move any faster. When I land in Auckland, my mother is already at the hospital for pre-surgery preparation.
We are stuffed and starved. Stuffed, because we produce more food than ever before, and there are 1 billion people who are overweight. Starved, because at the same time, 800 million people are hungry.
These two factors are symptoms of the same problem: the control of giant corporations in the food industry.
Raj provides a helpful diagram outlining where power is concentrated in the food industry. At the top and bottom of this diagram are billions of people, who take the form of consumers and farmers. But in the middle, there is a much smaller bottleneck. Here, the number of companies in play is much less than the number of farmers and consumers. These companies buy food from farmers and sell it to consumers. By controlling this gateway, they have the power to control—and exploit—those who grow food as well as those who eat it.