Last night the squatters screened Food Inc (my pic above) at the No Tesco in Stokes Croft squat on Cheltenham Road in Bristol.
The comfortable friendly squat is on the same premises Tesco wants for its 32nd supermarket in Bristol – as opposed to to the real food, whole food, local food market we locals want.
The perfect setting to see Food Inc, the documentary by US investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation.
The US farmer in the picture above, sitting on his horse surrounded by cattle in verdant nature, is an illusion.
“If people knew the truth about their food, they wouldn’t eat it,” says Eric Schlosser.
So the truth is hidden.
“If there were glass walls on mega-processing facilities, we’d have a different food system in this country,” says the farmer from the local organic Polyface Farm.
Farmers who speak publicly about what goes on behind the huge industrial shed-doors get their contracts terminated.
Debt is not restricted to poor farmers in the developing world. US farmers are forced to take out loans they can’t repay to meet the company’s demand for the latest ‘upgrade’.
Chickens are bred to grow fat faster. Their bones and internal organs cannot keep up with their fattened breasts. Chickens too ill to walk are processed as food.
Eric Schlosser says the industrial food system is based on the fast-food one: train workers (usually illegal immigrants) to do one mindless task, over and over again.
Neither the animals or workers’ comfort is of concern because they are temporary commodities, cheap to replace.
The self-policing food industry is close to US governments, whether Republican or Democrat. Those on the boards of farm chemical companies turn up as high-ranking officials in the FDA (US Food and Drug administration).
Most of our food is controlled by four megasized multi-nationals, from seed to supermarket.
Companies now legally own any seed they genetically modify.
Monsanto sues farmers for violation of their patents, and has a hotline for farmers to report on each other for doing what they have done for centuries: save seed.
These companies are so powerful, they can afford battalions of lawyers to fight farmers.
They lobby governments to skew the system so the poor end up paying more for fresh broccoli than ground-up beef treated with ammonia to kill bacteria such as e-coli rife in the manure-drenched animal factories.
We need to change the policies which make the bad calories cheaper than the good ones.
After the film, the squatters served parsnip and ginger soup, with potatoes and onion. It was delicious, satisfying my desire for wholesomeness and taste.
Here is my cup of deliciousness posed against a No Tesco campaign postcard which thousands have signed.
Here is the steaming soup saucepan sitting on a tea-towel on the bar of the Jesters, the ex-comedy club, which Tesco wants to demolish and replace with a soulless supermarket.
On my way home, I passed a plastic Tesco bag lying discarded on the streets.
Says it all, doesn’t it?
Please sign the petition asking Bristol City Council for a proper consultation.
And, hot-off-the-press: I am standing for the Green Party in Bishopston.