Past Program

May 05 - May 12, 2000

Who Will Control the Food System?


As the increasing demand for food places unprecedented pressure on the planet’s resources, debates intensify about ways in which these needs can be met in the coming decades. Some argue that agro-chemicals, biotechnology, and sophisticated “industrial scale” strategies will provide solutions; others question the advisability of placing full reliance on a singular industrial model to supply safe and nutritious foods for present and future generations. Critics of the industrial model warn of the social, economic, human health, and environmental effects, including biological pollution through the spread of recombinant DNA via agricultural biotechnology.

This session will examine how local, regional, and global food systems are undergoing constant change and challenge regarding food production, distribution, supply, and consumption in the future. Participants will consider the role of multinational corporations, government, and international trade organizations in food production and distribution; the effect of consumers’ choices and demands on food production systems; and the impact of the industrial model on farmers and consumers throughout the world.