October 16, 2020


Who will control food and farming by the end of the decade?
Small urban farm with blue earthquake fissure superimposed.
If you’re one of the many people worrying about our food and where it comes from, you’re not alone! A new and silent earthquake is fracturing our food systems and threatens to shape the future of food and farming over the course of the next ten years. These new cracks are spreading all the way from shadowy asset management companies on Wall Street, and digital giants in Silicon Valley, through the industrial food chain, heading for seeds, shop shelves and the food on our tables. ETC Group has been investigating these new threats to food and farming to uncover what’s really going on.
Big Finance and Big Tech want both food and farming to go digital, whether we like it or not. And industrial agriculture, food and data are all moving in to take advantage of COVID-19 as well, reframing their technologies as ‘solutions’ and trying to lock-in damaging pandemic-related trends that have already ramped up their control of food systems. One of their first moves of the decade, spearheaded by the World Economic Forum, will be an attempt to entrench this governance grab through a World Food Systems Summit planned for 2021.
We need to understand the full breadth and depth of what’s being planned behind closed doors, so that we can challenge and stop this looming food and farming coup d’état. We need a new and revitalized approach to our food system, but NOT the one envisaged by WEF.
Localized, biodiverse, peasant and agroecological food systems provide the answer. Decentralising control and democratising food systems is the key to feeding our world in a fair and ecological way. If we grow our food in a way that protects small farmers and peasants’ knowledge, rather than Silicon Valley’s profit margins, working in harmony with our environment and with local communities’ voices heard, we will all benefit.
You can find our more in our reports and research on Who Will Control food and farming.
• ‘Plate Tech-tonics’ maps corporate power in Big Food.
• ‘Blocking the Chain’ critically assesses digital developments in food and agriculture and the implications for small-scale farmers and industrial food chain workers.
• ‘Forcing the Farm’ explains how extreme genetic engineering – Gene Drives – could entrench industrial agriculture and threaten food sovereignty.
• ‘Gene Drive Organisms’ explains what Gene Drives are, who’s behind them and what rights and tools communities in targeted areas in Africa have to stop them.


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