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Sweet Misery

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The Future of Food

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The Top 20
Force Fed
Rachel Carson Memorial Lecture 2004

By Felicity Lawrence

Not On The Label by Felicity Lawrence "It is a great honour to be asked to give the Rachel Carson Memorial Lecture tonight. I have a clear memory of reading her book Silent Spring for the first time and knowing when I put it down that I would never be able to think of the world in the same way again. I’m sure for many people here it marked a similar turning point. It was the book that put ecology on the political map.

...Our food has been industrialised and globalised in less than a generation with devastating consequences for the environment, for social justice and for our individual health. The money made from food has shifted dramatically from those at the bottom of the chain, the farmers and producers, to those at the top, the big transnational food processors, manufacturers and retailers who now dominate and control our food as never before. As barriers to global trade have been removed, inequalities in wealth have grown not diminished. Most of us in the West now depend on processed food that is routinely adulterated.

I hope to show that these different of crisis are intricately related. Food that is produced in a way that degrades the environment is invariably the product of human degradation too. Food grown without a thought for judicious use of the world’s resources is nearly always food that is nutritionally depleted too; food industrially processed without recognition of labour rights or equitable distribution is often food stripped of its goodness. The way we eat today is not just ecologically unsustainable, but also morally, socially and even biologically unsustainable."

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