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From Growing Profit to Growing Food: Challenging Corporate Rule

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page, Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Just outside of the small town of Maumelle, Arkansas sits your run-of-the-mill American strip mall. And as in so many other box store hubs, a Walmart dominates the landscape.

But something is a shade different about this one; its big, looming letters are not the standard blue. These letters, in a new, green hue, spell out "Walmart Neighborhood Market." These "neighborhood markets" are a tactic in Walmart's conquest of the grocery industry. The nation's world's biggest retail store now captures more than a fourth of the domestic grocery market.

We are bombarded and manipulated by corporate name brands every day. A Coca-Cola annual report some years back stated, "All of us in the Coca-Cola family wake up each morning knowing that every single one of the world's 5.6 billion people will get thirsty that day  If we make it impossible for these 5.6 billion people to escape Coca-Cola , then we assure our future success for many years to come. Doing anything else is not an option."

"Impossible" to "escape" sounds daunting, downright creepy. Yet people are escaping, in droves, a food system that is more obsessed with money than with sustenance.

The U.S.'s move towards industrialization in the 19th century ushered in major changes in agriculture. The focus shifted to creating an abundance of affordable food for a growing population while simultaneously reducing the number of people laboring in the fields, in order to free them up for work in the factories. The need for more food with less labor meant more mechanization and therefore bigger farms. The emergence of vast farms required that food travel long distances, and went hand-in-hand with the creation of companies to transport, package, and process the food.


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