Occupy Your Food Supply

You might be wondering whatever happened to my Quiet Riot in light of last month’s jolting speed bump. I will tell you, it was not forgotten. Strange as it may seem, the Riot was one of my first thoughts. ‘Shit, there goes that idea…’ But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in times of crises, having something external and good to put your energy into can be extremely helpful. Maybe the Riot would be the perfect anchor to get me through these hard times. I figured I’d give myself a month or so, then go easy, but not give it up altogether.

One of the positive things about this harrowing experience was that, rather than give me any crazy carpe-diem panic attacks that we were living our lives all wrong, it just reaffirmed to me that we are living the life that matters most. Although we fall short all the time, we are at least going the right direction, we are doing what we can.

Cancer is the industrial disease. Environmental pollution, chemical-based agriculture, denatured and processed foods, and the overriding ethic of Profit Makes Right– all the things I rail against– were given a big stamp of approval as worthy causes. According to the American Cancer Society, 44% (almost 1 in 2!) men will develop cancer in their lifetime, and 23% (almost 1 in 4) will die of it. Rates for women are respectively 38% and 20%. I know that the majority of cancers occur to older people (a shocking 4 out of 4 people die of something), but cancer in younger people is getting disturbingly common. Almost 40% of cancer incidences are people under the age of 65 (here). New studies are always linking cancer with all kinds of things, but they never make a big deal about it. It’s always sited as just a slight increase in likelihood. They never add the numbers together. Pesticides + refined foods + chemical additives + air pollution + sedentary lifestyle + continual low level radiation from electronics + off-gassing, PCBs, BPAs, BHT, DDT, and the FBI = 1 out of every 7 of you gentle readers will get cancer before the age of 65.

We have put the corporate world in control and, whoops, they don’t give a shit about us. In fact as My Man often points out, they aren’t even allowed to give a shit. As corporations, they are required by law to make money, at all cost. And they will. They will do anything they can get away with. They will scrimp and cheat and lie till their last breath, with which they will beg for bailout.

Though the real Riot for Austerity is about climate change and peak oil, my Quiet Riot was more broadly about lessening my family’s support of this system of corporate power that places no value whatsoever on anything but profit. Climate change and peak oil are the sharp, scary parts, but it’s quite a bit bigger that. It’s everything, and it’s already happening. It’s international human rights, it’s loss of wilderness, it’s the degradation of our family meal and social soul.

It’s cancer in 1 out every 2 men, and My Man is 1.

What better motivation towards focusing my efforts than such an intimate threat?

Strangely, after we got the almost glowing test results back and the over 99% cure rate, we both got very depressed. My Man felt it immediately, mine took a few days to set in. I’ve been feeling downright deflated. I have no energy or desire to do anything, let alone change the world. I haven’t been writing, as you know. But it’s not because I’ve been too busy kicking ass on my Riot, or being a good mom, or cooking extra nourishing foods, or getting our house really clean. Honestly, I’m not sure what the fuck I’ve been using up my days with. In between my reluctant and short-tempered parenting, I’ve just been laying around the house reading while my kids veged in front of dvds for hours at a time.

Partly I know we had just been holding our breath, not feeling things really for those two weeks of waiting, and the respite of good news and crisis averted finally gave us a chance to process everything. But also I think we had felt so motivated to noble and essential action at first, we were going to conquer cancer! And then when it turned out our efforts were not needed, there we were, standing around shuffling our feet. All dressed up with no place to go.

I am trying to be patient with myself through this low-energy phase. I know we’ve weathered a storm, and although it was quick and seems to have mostly blown itself out, it was the real deal, The Big One. We need to be easy on ourselves for awhile, allow for recovery. But there is a very fine line between going easy on yourself and slumping into a depressed lethargy of paper plates and glowing screens. After emotional upheaval, we need time to feel what we are feeling, to be sure. And then we need a pry bar to get ourselves up and moving again.

I’m hoping this malaise won’t last much longer, that I will soon have the strength to heft the pry bar. This morning I read about Homegrown’s Occupy the Food System and felt a refreshing spark of inspiration. My Man and I have been following the Occupy protests and it’s killing him not to be able to go to NY. He loves big, extreme action; I’ve always been the quieter homebody revolutionary, the change from within type. When I saw Homegrown’s article today, a little bell went off. I’m not sure what HG’s purpose is exactly, it seemed exploratory. They know they belong somewhere in this movement and are trying to figure out where. I wish I were feeling a little more peppy right about now, because I suddenly understood that all of us can, from our very own homes, Occupy Wall Street. And I don’t mean in any quaint, anecdotal way. We could effect a very real disruption of the corporate beast by simply refusing to feed it with our money. Imagine if everyone who supports the Occupy concept but can’t get to a protest, instead boycotted all corporations for a month. As in, really didn’t buy anything beyond absolute survival necessities. If enough people did it, even just a week could make an enormous statement!

I might do this on my own, incorporate it into my Quiet Riot. But that’s not what my mind’s eye is conjuring. I’m imagining it big, as a real, recognized, meaningful part of the Occupy movement. The other side of the protest coin. To be that, it would need critical mass. A thousand people look impressive waving signs in the street, but it would take many more thousand people to put a visible sag in that ever-frisky market erection. And although there have been successful boycotts of specific products and corporations in the past, would such a complete boycott be possible for a meaningful number of people? Even if the word could spread far enough, could enough people take such drastic measures? Seems impossible, but if we could…. Oh how they would squirm!

But, hey. Not me, man. I’m not leading this bull out. Surely someone else will get this idea, if they haven’t already. Right? Someone else will come up with a catchy logo and eloquent manifesto for the Occupy Corporate Boycott. I don’t really have to be the change, do I? Can’t I just tag along with someone else’s change?

And, not that I’m so brilliant, but why couldn’t they have called it Occupy the Food Supply? Is it really so hard to get a rhyme around here?

10 thoughts on “Occupy Your Food Supply

  1. She’s BAAAACK!!! You may be feeling malaise, but I sense the fighter coming through in this post. Thatagirl!

    There is another movement brewing which I heard about on facebook. It’s called BANK TRANSFER DAY and it’s Nov. 5th. In light of the major banks B of A and Wells Fargo announcing their new $5 a month charge for using your debit card (that’s right $5 a month to spend YOUR money) Bank Transfer Day is asking everyone to close out their big bank accounts and open a new account in a small bank or Credit Union. The funny thing is, I had already decided to do this before I read that–synchronicity. So this weekend I’m going to open my New account at the Credit Union where my son banks and then I’ll switch everything over to it and close out my Chase Account.

    Imagine if enough people did that? Do you think the Banks would get scared? They should!

    I’d go for a massive boycott CJ! As long as it doesn’t involve food and gas. Although frankly, I think a 1 day boycott of gas wouldn’t be so bad either. it’s time we all realize we have a voice–time to start using it!

    Stick it to the man!

    OK, I’m going back to doing laundry now. Speech over. :)

    1. Makes me glad I use a local bank! Phew! We’ve had nothing but trouble from large banks, so we’re also switching my husband to my bank. In fact, I think my whole immediate family uses local banks or credit unions. I never even thought of it, thanks!

  2. While I ignore my own screeching babe, I’m smiling at this last sentence — it’d go over so well at a march, wouldn’t it?
    Am I a dunce, or, how the hell is this idea even possible? I mean, of course I love it, but what about, like, flour? Or vinegar? I’m a dunce, I say. I guess I’d have to research what even counts as a corporation these days — so many are hidden corporations under small-time looking logos. . .
    Second line for Occupy at 2 today — party for the revolution, New Orleans style. . . I know, I support it, but sometimes feel silly, too.
    In reply to Woody, above, I think taking our money out would be really powerful also. Just cash and credit unions! Crazy, eh?

  3. Oh it is lovely to hear your voice again and it is worth reading every word you write. Even if you did not articulate just what was at the tip of my tongue, even if you did not weave things together in such amazing ways that I turn my head side-ways like our new puppy, I would still read every word just for images like this, “to put a visible sag in that ever-frisky market erection.”

  4. I’m feeling the malaise too girl! Hubby’s been out of work for 6 months and I go between frenzied activity and total laziness. I do have to say though that I like the idea of the transfer day, even if my money is already in a local Credit Union. I’d support a bigger boycott day if someone already had an idea of what would count as a corporate boycott.

  5. I was talking about this to my friend, who is sick of corporations. I said that you could start doing the majority of your shopping at the OK Food Cooperative, as everything is produced by the farmer, it’s non-gmo, and organic. Or at least the majority is. There are also great movements going on around local sourcing of fiber for clothing, I think it’s fibershed.org? something like that. It is possible. I hate that the corps control everything in our lives.
    Julie

  6. My mom and I dropped off supplies at Occupy Philly last week and we’re doing it this weekend too. Food is a big deal too, I’m trying to get more and more of my food from the orchard we go to on Sundays. Less meat, less crap, more good.

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