45. Harms, Hunger, and Hope in the Industrial Agricultural Complex

Ali Kenefick, Concordia University;

The industrial agricultural complex has spent over a century exploiting the planet's wealth of natural resources, and animal life to produce inexpensive food to feed the human population. As an international oligarchy of transnational corporations, the agricultural complex's production methodology involves the collection of crude oil, wood, and minerals to run machinery, the employment of underpaid workers, the privatization of Indigenous lands/waters, the mass slaughter and mistreatment of non-human animal bodies, and the endangerment of public health through dangerous emissions. Though Big Agriculture argues this methodology is key to feeding the world's burgeoning population, 1/3 of all food produced still goes to waste due to losses in distribution systems, questionable bureaucratic policies, poor waste management infrastructures, inflated grocery prices, and general overproduction. As a result, not only is much of the world still hungry, but many face increased dangers due to Big Agriculture's impacts on climate change, biospheric degradation, soil erosion, and social fallout. The subject of food connects conversations regarding public health, multispecies coexistence, environmental sustainability, global food security, and beyond. It is a symbol of intersectionality, power structures, and feminized bodies. It is fundamental to our collective human experience, and provides a telling barometer of our value systems, priorities, and political climate. As we stand in the face of global crises, knowing our relationship with the industrial food complex offers a unique opportunity to address our commitments anew, to transform concern into care, and to begin to determine a path through the crises and overwhelm of the Anthropocene.

Contact: ali.kenefick@gmail.com

Keywords: Feminist STS, Environmental/Multispecies Studies, Food and Agriculture, Design

Published: 04/07/2023