The 2021 Corporate Bamboozle On World Food Systems

June 08, 2021

Mega-corporations are all set to walk away with the keys to global governance of food and agriculture at the UN Food Systems Summit later this year. Pat Mooney talks about what is at stake and The Long Food Movement counter strategy.

LYNN FRIES: Hello & welcome I’m Lynn Fries producer of Global Political Economy or GPEnewsdocs. Today’s guest is Pat Mooney. At the end of this year 2021 a meeting is being held to rubber stamp a corporate strategic maneuver to takeover global governance of the entire world food system; effectively food production, research and finance.

Pat Mooney will be talking about all this in the context of The Long Food Movement and its report Transforming Food Systems by 2045. The report shows the stakes are high because food systems are being rapidly transformed as food and agriculture go digital. This is the last chance to change course. Pat Mooney is lead author of that report produced by IPES-Food in collaboration with ETC Group.

Pat Mooney is leading IPES-Food's 'Long Food Movement' project. He is the co-founder and executive director of ETC Group that has monitored corporate power in commercial food, farming and health for over four decades. He is an expert on agricultural diversity, biotechnology, corporate concentration and global governance. Pat Mooney was awarded the Pearson Peace Prize in Canada and received the Alternative Nobel Prize, The Right Livelihood Award.

Welcome Pat. Thank you for joining us.

PAT MOONEY: Thank you for having me.

FRIES: Pat, from farmers and fishers groups, to cooperatives and unions, the Long Food Movement calls on civil society and social movements to unite and collaborate. This as a forceful counter position to an agribusiness-led transformation of the food systems. Your report Transforming Food Systems by 2045 maps out what this kind of ground up collaboration could achieve. So, as the title suggests you are looking decades ahead. What was the impetus behind that?

MOONEY: Well we back in 2016, in fact, we began to talk about the need for a strategy that was not so short-term as it has always been. That it can't just be are two or three years of thinking. We need to be thinking further down the road. And we were expressing our general frustration, many of us in civil society, that we're always trapped into these cycles of funding which is so short that we really can't do the horizon scanning that's important. So we talked about, well, let's build something different.

Let's try to see if we can imagine not just what we would like to have down the road but how we would get to it. We all have the same kind of dreams of the way we'd like to see the world be. But can we really get there? Can we politically practically do it? So the exercise of the Long Food Movement was to not just dream of what we want but really do the politics of it. You know, what's really viable in terms of moving institutions, moving money around to get where we want to be.

FRIES: The Long Food Movement is for decentralizing control and democratizing food systems as the key to feeding the world as well as (re)generating ecological and other systems vital to people and planet. You say achieving that will require policy frameworks at every level of governance – from local law to international agreements –that support and empower small holder and peasant farmers all over the world. Talk about policy frameworks that have moved in the opposite direction by supporting and empowering agribusiness. And the role of agribusiness in getting governments to make those policy choices. For example, what did agribusiness want and get from government say back in the days when biotechnology was the then new technology?