Agriculture Workshop Comment Number: AGW-13986

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Comment Number: AGW-13986

From: Dave Shaw
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 10:58 PM
To: ATR-Agricultural Workshops
Subject: Comments Regarding Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy

I am Dave Shaw, a young farmer, eater and teacher living in California.  Here are the reasons I think that we should take actions to support small scale local farming and deincentivize large scall agribusiness and corporate consolidation of the food and agriculture sector:
•    It's harder and harder to find healthy, locally produced foods in your community -- especially if you live in a low-income area, there might not be a supermarket for miles.
•    Prices are rising at the supermarket, but you've heard that farmers are struggling -- and big food companies have made record profits this year.
•    You feel like you don't have much choice about the food you eat -- maybe the produce selection is bad, or you don't like that everything seems to be made with corn products.
•    It's hard for small food producers and processors to find markets for their products -- and it's hard for consumers to find products made by small producers.
•    Food seems less safe. You've read that the outbreak and spread of bacteria like E. coli happens much faster when meat and vegetables are processed in big centralized locations.
•    Local farms are going out of business, because small farmers can't compete with prices set by industrial farms and consolidated buyers.
•    There aren't many decent jobs in food and farming anymore -- there's a real lack of opportunities for both urban and rural youth who are interested in growing and preparing food.
•    What's in your food, anyway? And why aren't there decent labels telling you where it grew, what chemicals are on it, and if it's genetically modified?
•    There is a "revolving door" of personnel between corporate lobbyists and government regulators. No wonder corporations aren't held to strict standards.
•    Many rural communities have become ghost towns. The farmers that have survived often find themselves entirely at the mercy of corporations who own all parts of the supply chain (called "vertical integration") and can set prices in such a way to drive competitors out of business.
•    Just one company controls the majority of seeds in the US, and regularly threatens farmers who don't buy its seeds.
•    Cows, chickens, and pigs are being raised in squalid conditions on huge industrial feedlots and pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics, which is unhealthy for them and potentially unsafe for the people eating them.
•    The food you can afford is bad for you; healthy food is expensive.
•    Food is grown and raised in ways that are terrible for the environment, with methods that pollute the water, poison the soil, and threaten our long-term food security.
•    A lot of food from the store just doesn't taste very good, which raises questions about where it’s come from and how it’s been treated.
I am concerned about the consolidation of corporate power in the food and agriculture sector and wish to thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Dave Shaw, M.Sc.

UC Santa Cruz, Lecturer
Kresge College, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064
831-502-7236 (office)
831-459-5377 (fax)

Gaia University International,
Process Advisor, Project Design Advisor and Regional Organizer

Skype: shawstafari
Phone: 831-662-2215 (home)
Address: 173 Alta Dr., Watsonville, CA 95076
Updated April 7, 2016

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