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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

6 Responses to Agribusiness as usual. Obama's campaign ag adviser mounts a weak defense of industrial food

  1. avatar Salle says:

    Excellent write up on the way it s in the non-local food world.

  2. avatar Pronghorn says:

    How disappointing. No where do they (McGovern & Matz) ever broach the folly of growing crops to feed to livestock to kill for food. Visionary thinking this is not.

  3. avatar JimT says:

    Pollan’s take on industrial food in his last two books should be mandatory reading for everyone at Ag…SOS, DD.

  4. avatar Salle says:

    Not only that, they don’t recognize that American agribusiness is one of the things that has depleted the food security of nations, like the Philippines, Mali and other African nations, and many in South America. In these countries, just to name a few, are places where monocrops grow where locals used to provide their own diverse foods but Dole and other large agribusinesses made “deals” with corrupt governments who roust the locals off their land with no compensation. Some are “lucky” enough to get jobs on these plantations yet don’t earn enough to buy the food they grow, if it’s even edible. The rest end up in places like the massive dumps of Manilla, essentially homeless, foraging for food and recyclables that they can sell to buy things they can’t find in the dump. Many sell their daughters and sons into prostitution and slavery.

    Nice guys huh? But they’re successful businesses-wonder why!

    And all that so we can have cheap fastfood because our employers demand that we spend all our time either working for the minimum wage, buying their cheap trash because you can’t afford anything else, or getting ready for work and maybe getting some sleep. Then, if you happen to have a family… And then there are all those medical bills for the diseases you get from non-nutritional foodstuffs and chemical laden-produce…

    And for the folks in the “third-world that we create so they can’t compete with us, we send them aid in the form of chemical-laden grains and things like milk, in dry form, that makes them ill because they are lactose intolerant ~ as some 80% of the world’s population is. (Milk is for baby cows, not humans. Mostly those descendant from northern Europeans are lactose tolerant ~ a “selected-for” trait, as Anthropologists call it.) And then they think that Americans are trying to poison them with the stuff which brings about negative reactions on a variety of levels. And all Americans can come up with is, “…they hate us for our freedom and we were trying to help them, the ingrates!”

    Our education system doesn’t allow for learning about other cultures and what they are really about because we can’t have that understanding while we are poisoning them and stealing their resources… other-wise it would be hard to make purchasing decisions because we would KNOW that we are maintaining a hegemonic position at their expense… and who would support THAT if they knew that’s what was going on? The US is, I may be wrong by one or two nations but, the only country where you can get a doctoral degree without learning any other language besides English or about other cultures to any significant level.

    How’s that for food for thought?

    If locally grown foods were available, not only elsewhere but here too, we wouldn’t have Conagra, ADM, Simplot and all the other corporate food bastardizers ruining our food and controlling access to it. Then we wouldn’t need the medical industrial complex, chemical industrial complex and maybe we could be a healthier world with fewer wars. The major flash point that brings about war, other than religion, is food security resources. When people are hungry, they will kill to feed themselves. The only other factor is the military industrial complex that is secure in its foothold only because politicians allow it.

  5. avatar JimT says:

    Some thoughts on this…

    One, the more centralized the development of our lands, the more control the home associations will have over the activities on those lands. Control of what one can do is almost king-like; control of what kinds of landscaping, IF you are allowed to make changes to landscaping, prohibitions on clotheslines are typical. Most of the “affordable” housing in the West is in the suburban type of stuff, so these issues are important to think about as we address things like climate change, water conservation. The control of these easements needs to be lessened; the ability of residents to amend these easements needs to be enhanced.

    Two, so, if one wants to be part of an incremental change in how food supply is provided, these home associations, empowered by state laws, can and will prevent folks from planting home gardens, installing xeriscaping instead of water hungry turf grasses, and so on. In essence, this is a return to “Victory Garden” thinking of our parents..control of your own food supply to the maximum extent possible. Then..it was for purely cost reasons. Now..given the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides…it is for health AND local health reasons.

    Sometimes, focus on nationally-based change is appropriate and the most effective. But , we shouldn’t ignore the neighborhood level approaches that, incrementally, can make a substantial, cumulative difference

  6. avatar Salle says:

    “Pollan’s take on industrial food in his last two books should be mandatory reading for everyone at Ag…SOS, DD.”

    And part of the general school curriculum starting around sixth grade.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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