Wednesday, June 17, 2009

meating Mongolia

I frankly don't know who I'm apologizing to, and really shouldn't fret since lurkers are by nature hard to please, but forgive me for yet another quasi-political post. Working at OW2 has me evermore immersed in issues I already had a bent for, so there isn't much else on my mind these days, really.

Therefore I'm going to go ahead and share an extract from a top-notch Canadian site I've gotten hooked on that is teaching me more and more about my country's food industry & policy. Makes me truly glad I'm on the path to becoming a complete localavore vegetarian. But hey, make up your own mind.

Today, The New Resilient takes an Agriculture Canada press release about "new market access" in Mongolia for Canadian "meat products" and deciphers it into wry plainspeak (in italics below).

“Market by market, commodity by commodity, this Government is making sure Canadian farmers have every opportunity to reach customers around the world,” said Minister Ritz. “Today’s announcement is an important development in relations between our two countries, and opens doors to many new exports and opportunities in agricultural cooperation.”

Canadian farmers are hurting. Rather than examining the systemic issues facing producers such as the consolidation of meat packing into the hands of several large American corporations (sorry, there’s also a Canadian conglomerate on the scene now), or the dismally low prices they offer our producers for their products, we figure adding yet another market will help “farmers.” By that we mean the middlemen (Cargill, for example) that profit the most off of finished products and exports. We’re not really sure what Mongolian farmers, or Mongolians in general will get out of this. Nor do we know what Mongolia will send us in return. Oh yeah, they’ll export their money and we’ll export our meat!

I liked reading this (short, so don't be shy to read the whole thing) release because it reminded me how out of touch we are with where our food comes from and the actors and politics (and big money conglomerates) involved.

That's it for today except a note to suggest you check out today's article and videobrief at Our World 2.0 about how some of the world's first environmental refugees are engineering their own exile from a drowning traditional homeland.

How-to guide for environmental refugees

Carteret Islanders' own in-depth relocation plan
by Ursula Rakova


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