Tag Archives: conscious consumer

Who Owns Your Food? Food Corporations.

Did you know most of the food you eat every day is owned by 10 major food corporations, and that those food corporations are squeezing local farmers, local bakers, and small businesses out of business. These are the companies that make food so that it can sit on a shelf for months at a time and not go bad, so that it can be “merchandized correctly” but not necessarily so that it can be digested or utilized correctly

The Food Corporations that own what you eat. Infographic by Joki Gauthier for Oxfam 2012

The Food Corporations that own what you eat. Infographic by Joki Gauthier for Oxfam 2012

This is what corporate food looks like. This is who owns what you put into your body.  I dislike this on so many levels.

What’s Wrong With Food Corporations?

Any time food becomes a big business the company HAS to focus more on the retail and money side of things than the health side of things. It’s the nature of the beast. But overall, here’s why this is so very very bad.

  1. Mass-produced food has to be shelf-stable for a long time, meaning more preservatives.
  2. Mass producing food (instead of making it by hand) means you’re using machines, instead of hands so chances are you’ll use more chemicals to make the machine process work.
  3. Big food companies use a lot of fancy packaging that contributes to environmental badness.
  4. A May 2014 report by Oxfam International says that if the big 10 was a company it would be the 25th highest polluting country in the world.
  5. Food corporations make deals with mega-farms and drive out the local farmers.

Here’s more info from Oxfam:

Corporate Food Is A Problem, What Is The Solution?

This is the really simple part and also the not-so-simple part because it means changing your routine. This is a money-driven machine so the less money you put into the system, the smaller the system will get.  What does that mean? Shopping for food, food services and restaurants totally differently.

  1. Get your produce from farmers markets, CSAs (or Community Supported Agriculture), local growers and your own garden.
  2. Cook more at home.
  3. Visit local bakers, butchers and food producers
  4. Shop at a food co-op
  5. Boycot food corporations
  6. Buy bulk from the bins instead of pre-packaged
  7. Consciously avoid the big brand names and look for smaller local options
  8. Visit restaurants that source their food locally
  9. Get involved – support Oxfam International or any other local food advocate
  10. Get way healthier because this is how your nutrition gets better anyway.

Is food always going to be a big money maker? Yes – it always is. We’re always going to need to eat.  Does it need to make money at the expense of farmers, nutrition, and the environment?  Nope. That part is up to you.

How do Gender Roles Hold You Back?

Gender roles and stereotypes are all around us. The expectations that men or women must be a certain way, act a certain way, look a certain way to be men or women.  For women, the driving message is that we must be what society considers “sexy” to have worth or value as a woman. I know among my clients there are so many who suffer from eating disorders, low self-esteem, and addictions, not to mention the number of women who don’t take on big projects, or pass up opportunities for the simple reason that they don’t believe in themselves. The change has to come from us – from consumers.  I don’t believe any big corporation is going to voluntarily stop sexualizing women, stop using women’s own fears and insecurities to sell us face cream or plastic surgery or really take any steps to change their impact on the images that both young women and young men see on a day to day basis.

We as consumers have to actually tell companies that we aren’t interested in their blanket perpetuation of gender roles and stereotypes. That we won’t buy products that are marketed in this way, that we want to see real women. Women who actually look like women you might see at work, in the office or in the grocery store. In supporting businesses that value women as people, not as objects or pretty things. This lack of gender roles and stereotypes should extend to their business practices too, we should spend our money with companies that actually treat women and men equally.

Here are the images we see daily – this is how we think of women:

Here’s a trailer for the Film Missrepresentation, a look at how gender roles and stereotypes and media bias perpetuate gender differences and gender inequality in America:

And on a final note, the women in our culture aren’t the only ones to suffer from gender roles and stereotypes.  Here’s how we teach our boys to “be a man:”

I can’t claim innocence – of course I have held men that I’ve dated to the “man” standard. In my weakest moments I am completely capable of judging myself by the “woman” standard. I don’t always shop consciously or act as an informed consumer.  I don’t always boycott the magazines that are exploitative to women, but I’m getting better. It’s a process. Maybe you can join me and we can help each other?