America Has a Monopoly Problem.
“Big Doesn’t Just Happen, Big is Allowed to Happen.”- Joe Maxwell Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets
In the wider food system, big food is changing the rules of the game. They control everything from seeds to supply and prices, while chipping away at regulations that inform and protect consumers. It has left the independent food economy, especially farmers, devoid of oxygen. In the name of power and profit and at the expense of farmers in the US and abroad, corporations count on consumers to remain unorganized and uninformed to maintain the status quo. How can we change the rules of the game?
What is Equal Exchange Doing About It?
Equal Exchange is partnering with the Organization for Competitive Markets to turn the tables and to shift the power back. We are working on a bill called the Food and Agribusiness Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act. This bill would stop mergers in their tracks, allow a pause, a moment for the independent food economy to breathe. It would formulate a commission to evaluate the real impact of consolidation in our food system. This moratorium would stay in place until Congress acts.
Why Should You Care?
For generations, our food economy was a thriving independent market, where consumers had choice and family farms had a chance. Over the last 20-30 years, however, the independent food economy and farmers are slowly going bankrupt, and consumers have increasingly dwindling options to support a healthy and safe food system.
Farmer voices are being drowned out and consumer choice exists as only an illusion. A concentrated market and Big Food has power and influence over consumer prices, the health and safety of food choices on our grocery store shelves, and control of workers along all parts of the supply chain. A concentrated market means driving out existing independents and creating high barriers to entry, it denies workers in the food system good wages, and limits producers’ ability to deliver high quality, sustainable, and healthy food. Lax enforcement of antitrust laws has allowed monopolies to gain enough market share and economic power to obtain abusive levels of power and political influence over food policy, and ultimately our entire food system.
What Can You Do About It?
We need your help. We are not just consumers, we are citizens, and we have a voice. Collectively, we have power. Join the fight for an independent food system, one that works for farmers, consumers, and independent business.
Help support this campaign, here’s how:
- Read the bill here!
- Read the press release here.
- Listen to this Podcast with the Executive Director of the Organization for Competitive Markets, Joe Maxwell.
- Read this blog post on why Equal Exchange is joining this fight.
- Spread the word!
- Join this working group with Danielle Robidoux, organizer for Equal Exchange to learn about what you can do in your community to foster an independent food system. Email email@example.com for more information on joining this group!
- Come to our Annual Equal Exchange Summit June 20-22nd at Wheaton College, MA!
- Want to stay connected and receive related updates?