So Long Agricultural Free Trade

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In a few hours I head to Brussels where I’m participating, for the second year in a row, in European Youth Media Days.  This year I’m helping coordinate and speaking as part of a workshop on Food Prices and the Media.

In preperation for this event I’ve been stepping up my own research into the global food production system over the past 100 years and the current breakdown it is experiencing.  Although the conference is Europe focused, I’m finding alot of useful and I would argue, applicable examples and analysis from North American news sources.

My hope is that one thing young journalists at this event will think more about is what lay behind the story of food prices. I have no interest in the typical commercial media exercise of finding a person-on-the-street and asking how they feel about prices. A more useful exercise would be to look at who benefits from increased food prices, and even before that, how was the global agricultural system organized that it could fall so hard, so fast.  From there the connections should be made to climate change, CO2 emissions, the lack of emphasis over the last decades on growing local and crop diversity. All these things happened for a reason, and if we’re to solve this problem as a society, we need journalists to do more than just point to the price tags and stick a microphone in front of consumers.

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