by Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News
February 08, 2023
I recently reported earlier this week, everything and anything
related to digital computer technology these days is being labeled
as "Artificial Intelligence" (AI), the new marketing buzzword for
Big Tech to lure money from investors, so it should not surprise us
that Big Tech is now attempting to apply 'AI' to food production.
A report published
at the end of 2022 by
The ETC Group does an excellent job of reporting just how Big
Tech is planning on taking over the world's food supply:
Food Barons 2022 - Crisis Profiteering, Digitalization and
Up: Techno-fixes to lock-in corporate control
The Food Barons
are introducing a suite of new technologies and "techno-fixes"
that are conceived and designed to entrench corporate control
over food and agriculture even further.
already wrested control of the agricultural research and development (R&D) agenda to suit their own interests, whilst
continuing to concentrate power and influence trade, aid and agricultural policies to fuel
their growth and profit...
"Techno-fix" refers to the
development of a technology product or intervention to address a
social or environmental problem - often a problem created
by an earlier technological failure.
Up and down the
industrial food chain, the digitalization of food and
agriculture emerges as the new techno-fix of the day.
research reveals that every sector of the Industrial Food Chain
is in the process of transforming into a digital enterprise.
At the same
time, Big Tech is becoming tightly entangled with industrial
via digital technologies is now itself a commodity:
Industrial Food Chain relies on Big Data to grow, process,
trade, track, sell and transport its products...
Digitalizing food and agriculture from farm to front door
The vista of
new digital initiatives in food and ag is dizzying.
On the farm, it
includes concerted attempts to impose digital agriculture,
weaving in drone sprayers,
robotic planters and automated animal-feeding operations tricked
out with facial recognition for livestock.
Big Ag giants
Bayer, Deere & Company, Corteva, Syngenta and Nutrien,
...are restructuring their entire businesses around Big Data
View' digital platform, for example, extracts 87.5 billion datapoints from 180 million acres (78.2 million hectares) of
farmland in 23 countries and funnels it into the cloud servers
of Microsoft and Amazon.
world's largest farm machinery company, now employs more
software engineers than mechanical engineers.
On the route to
retail, the global grain trading system is getting a digital
overhaul as it becomes increasingly automated and products are
tracked via blockchain.
At the same
time online grocery platforms and food delivery apps (such as DoorDash, Zomato and Deliveroo) surged during
and are growing into a whole new 'last mile'/ last link of the
Industrial Food Chain.
This is the reason
why billionaire technocrats, such as
Bill Gates and
Jeff Bezos, are now among the largest owners of farmland in the
This is the future
of the technology, and they know it.
ETC report (Food
Barons 2022 - Crisis Profiteering, Digitalization and Shifting Power) so eloquently states, here is the "dream farm" of the
It is a "farm of
one" where technology does all the work and rakes in the profits:
agrochemical company offers its own digital ag platform marketed
to farmers as a way to transform on-farm data into savings that
will ultimately increase farm profitability.
The Holy Grail, they say, is a "farm
where a single farmer/data manager (equipped with many thumbs,
perhaps?) can log on to a connected device, watch as the
algorithms calculate input prescriptions - based on data
collected from in-field sensors and hyperspectral imaging - and
then send those prescriptions to a fleet of contracted drones
that will dump herbicide, fungicide, fertilizer, growth
regulator or other input in a just-right dosage for each plant
growing in the field.
the farmer can supposedly sit back and enjoy the profits from
increased crop sales and reduced labour costs - as well as from
payments for 'carbon sequestration' verified by traceability
data collected and stored on a blockchain.
With Big Tech's
encroachment into agriculture, we have now moved from,
food safe to eat?' to 'Is this even "food" and is it edible?'...
The sad thing is
that most Americans today, where now the majority of the population
has grown up in the Big Tech era, don't even care where their food
comes from, and if they do get curious, most of them don't even know
what kind of questions to ask.
If it is packaged
and sold in fast food restaurants and grocery stores, they just
assume it is edible and not something that will poison and kill you,
because "they wouldn't do that."
But who are
regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
that just authorized a population-reduction set of products
called "COVID-19 vaccines"?
Nah, of course not.
"They" would never
allow poisonous, inedible food that harms the public be sold
commercially, would they...?
"Data is the new soil"
ETC report (Food
Barons 2022 - Crisis Profiteering, Digitalization and Shifting Power) reveals, as consolidated Big Food was before COVID,
they used COVID to consolidate even more, so that today just a few
corporations control most of the world's food.
Surge - Shoring up power and crisis profiteering
When a handful of giant companies are allowed to dominate in
uncompetitive markets, with little regulatory oversight, they
can and do use their market power to squeeze out competitors,
raise prices, hijack the R&D agenda, monopolize technologies (even flawed and ineffective ones) and maximize profits.
ever-increasing corporate concentration and anemic antitrust
regulation, some of the world's largest companies are using
'pandemic'-induced supply chain gridlock and inflation as an
excuse to jack up prices:
a practice known as "crisis
Top 10s to Top 4s
reveals that, after decades of consolidation, many Industrial
Food Chain sectors are so "top heavy" they are controlled
by just four to six dominant firms.
typically consider a four-firm concentration ratio of 40% or
higher reflective of a sector that operates as an oligopoly.
Many of the
sectors we monitor are already above that 40% threshold; others
are on the verge of passing it.
go from 15 to 10 companies, not much changes... When you go
from 10 to six, a lot changes. But when you go from six to
four - it's a fix."
have market power can raise prices above what's considered
fair market value... We're at a point in our market
concentrations that we haven't seen ever before."
"Data," supplied by
Big Tech and their "AI," is what allows this tremendous
consolidation of power.
Ag's Digital Turf Grab
largest agrochemical/seed firms have fortified their market
control via consolidation and mega-mergers; now they are
feverishly investing in high-tech and digital technologies that
can further expand their already-solid oligopoly.
They are not
alone; other corporate titans, sitting atop their own sectors -
fertilizer giants, ag equipment manufacturers, big tech - are muscling their way into the digital ag arena.
In the past
half-decade, the biggest players in global agriculture
consolidated to produce the Fat Four,
a dramatic onslaught of digital technologies that invite -
almost require - cross-sectoral convergence.
is the new soil" - now a common metaphor to suggest
digital information's ubiquitous and foundational role - also
points to the reality that Big Data is becoming the
prerequisite, the milieu and the means of producing agricultural
biggest data companies,
Alibaba, Amazon, IBM, Google, Baidu, Microsoft, among
now tightly entangled with industrial food production.
We are Not Without Hope!
Make Wise Food Choices!
Dehusking coconuts by hand in the Philippines.
Low tech, small-scale producers, high quality food, JOBS!
Photo copyright: Brian Shilhavy
Here's the one
little secret about
the Food 'industry' that
the Globalists hope you
They can't sell
their products if you don't buy them and eat them...!
It really is that
Every single human
being on the planet has to eat. And everyone, at least those who are
not incarcerated in an institution or prison, can choose what food
they purchase and eat.
According to the
ETC Group, 70% of the world's population is still fed by small-scale
producers, and not Big Food.
Reclaiming Power for peasants, communities and food sovereignty
- Recognizing and challenging corporate hegemony
In contrast to
the increasing concentration and power of these giant Food
Barons, as detailed in this report, it is important to remember who feeds the majority of the world.
Food Web still feeds the equivalent of 70% of the world's
people with less than 30% of the world's land, water and
agricultural resources, even though the Food Barons are trying
to extend their tentacles through further land- and water-grabs
and technological appropriation of the commons.
Food Web provides an essential counterweight to the grim
tale of concentration and profiteering that we detail in this
report, through its inspiring diversification and proliferating
territorial food initiatives that re-distribute and share the
inherent power of sun, soil, seed and animals amongst people -
providing food to billions.
However, this is
not true in the United States, unfortunately...
When I lived in the
Philippines in the late 1990s and early 2000s, about 50% of the
population was employed by agriculture. This ratio is probably still
true in many countries today in Asia and Latin America.
The United States
has not seen that kind of ratio of the population employed in
agriculture since Abraham Lincoln was president.
Today, less than 2%
of the U.S. population is employed in agriculture...
But here's the good
the majority of
farms in the U.S. today are still small, family farms, even
though the large corporate farms produce the most food...
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Most of these small
family farms cannot make a living just on their agricultural
products, because they have to sell them to commodity food brokers
to get them into the system and go through the supply chain to be
sold in retail stores.
Would some of
the small farmers rather sell their products locally, directly
to the consumer at retail prices, instead of to the commodity
Yes, of course
So why don't
enough people will take the time to drive out of the city into
the rural areas where these farms exist, to purchase directly
from the farm.
rather just stop at their local grocery store where they can
pick up everything they need.
when the grocery store shelves go bare, and there is nothing to
Or what happens
when the Food Barons raise prices so high, you can no longer
afford their highly toxic commodity food?
The only way we
are going to resist the takeover of our food supply by Big Tech,
is by NOT buying their cheap, toxic products, and taking the
time to seek out high quality food that can be bought locally
from local producers, most of whom would much rather sell
directly to the consumer.
The one area where
this has seen some success for the past decade or so, is in the area
of raw milk sourced directly from the farm.
Most states have
laws forbidding the sale of raw milk, while some states allow it,
and in some cases they only allow it directly from the farm.
If you have only
bought and consumed processed "milk" from a grocery store, and never
tasted raw milk directly from the cow, you have no idea what real
milk actually tastes like.
Milk that goes into
the supply chain is immediately processed, and the highest value of
the components of liquid milk is the cream, which is sold and
incorporated into other products.
If the liquid
processed milk you buy in the store is labeled as "Whole Milk", it
usually means they put some cream back into the milk, about 4%.
But if you buy raw
milk directly from the farm, especially if it is from Jersey cows,
the cream that separates can be almost one third of the milk!
Here is a picture
of some raw milk I purchased years ago at a
raw milk dairy in Texas:
from grass-fed Jersey
Moo!Jesus Dairy in Texas.
But here's the
dairy operations around the country have to enter into a
contract with a buyer that comes to their farm and empties their
milk tank and then transports it to a warehouse where there are
milk pools filled by other dairy producers in the area, before
it is processed.
If a farmer starts
selling some of their milk directly to the consumers in their area,
then they might have a hard time meeting their quota that they have
a contract to fulfill by the milk cooperative.
And if not enough
people in their locality come to the farm to buy their supply, they
may be forced to stop selling directly to the consumer in fear of
losing their contract.
Do You Want to Eat Food Grown on Local
Farms, or Fake Meat and Bugs from a Lab and Genetically Modified
So in the end, it
really does come down to the consumer, and just how committed they
are to supporting their local farmers, rather than supporting Big
Ag, and today Big Tech, which is who you are supporting by
purchasing all your food at your local grocery store chain.
Barons 2022 - Crisis Profiteering, Digitalization and Shifting Power) explains where Big Tech is going with food
Techno-Fixes - gene editing and RNA-based pesticide sprays
pesticide/seed industry giants can take dominant positions in
digital farming platforms and a new generation of gene editing
and/or RNA pesticide technologies, they are poised to capture
new platforms that could provide new technological lock-ins' -
obliging farmers and end-users to adopt a new and expanded menu
of proprietary ag inputs and digital services.
expiring patents, herbicide-resistant weeds, the rise of generic
pesticides, and efforts by some governments (especially the EU)
to rein in chemical toxins, agrochemical/seed giants are looking
to fortify their oligopoly power with the rollout of novel,
proprietary genetic technologies, most prominently:
editing and RNA-based pesticide sprays...
Although these technologies involve very different techniques,
they both seek to concentrate corporate power and reinforce
editing - Biotech's Silver Bullet for Food & Ag
What is gene
techniques are a form of genetic engineering (GE) used to
alter the genetic material of an organism, plant or animal
(including humans) by inserting, deleting or changing the DNA at
a specific target site in the genome.
A number of
genome-editing technologies are currently being used in food and
well-known among these is the
CRISPR-enzyme system (e.g.,
CRISPR-Cas9, CRISPR-CPF1, etc.)
CRISPR stands for Clustered
Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, and
DNA-cutting enzymes are generally called nucleases.
gene-editing technologies include,
made headlines outside scientific circles in 2020 when the
scientists who discovered it (Jennifer Doudna and
won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.