Paul, Helena & Ricarda Steinbrecher with Devlin Kuyek & Lucy Michaels. HUNGRY CORPORATIONS: Transnational Biotech Companies Colonise the Food Chain. Z Books. 2003. London, UK.

What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies; it is really a consolidation of the entire food chain. Robert Fraley, Monsanto, 1996.” quoted on p.24

This excellent reference book on the corporate control of our food is a great example of good globalization; it is a cooperative work of scientists, activists and organizations from Canada, UK and Malaysia. It names corporate names, processes, and government agencies and institutions that empower “hungry corporations”.

The authors have compiled a clear and concise analysis and history of, “different ways in which the source of the food stream, basic to human life, is being diverted through the advocacy of genetic engineering and the patenting of living organisms to serve the priorities of transnational corporations.”

In Chapter 2 on the history of corporations, they say, “The rise of the modern corporation, with its increasing freedom to operate and its lack of obligation, except to make profits, has helped to shape modern technology in general, and the development of genetic engineering in particular.”

We need to be reminded of the power of corporations that have both assets and budgets greater than many countries. But the authors also remind us that they are a new presence in the centuries-old practice of agriculture, and also, that changes and adaptations which increase food production have a long history of farmer and community based knowledge. In the last decade we have seen this knowledge challenge the new power of corporate control, from the successes at the WTO meetings to organized rejection in many regions of genetically modified crops to the growth of organic, local farming in the minority world.

We are fortunate that the diversity of resistance to corporation agriculture has many facets and a wide range of organizations and actions we can participate in and contribute our own experience to. There is much to be hopeful about – there are many opportunities for citizens to take responsibility from the individual to the global level. Hungry Corporations provides impeccable and documented research and presents detailed and useful data – on the dangers and the possibilities – that will help us in our work to regain food security and sustainable agriculture.

Filed under Book Reviews, Devlin Kuyek, Helena Paul, Lucy Michaels, Ricarda Steinbrecher