Hungering for a true Thanksgiving

Submitted by Eternity on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 14:53.

Amy Goodman @ TruthDig - “In the next 60 seconds, 10 children will die of hunger,” says a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) online video. It continues, “For the first time in humanity, over 1 billion people are chronically hungry.”


The WFP launched the Billion for a Billion campaign this week, urging the 1 billion people who use the Internet to help the billion who are hungry. But if you think that hunger is far from our shores, here is some food for thought ... and action: The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report Monday stating that in 2008 one in six households in the U.S. was “food insecure,” the highest number since the figures were first gathered in 1995.


Economist Raj Patel, author of “Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System,” told me he was “gobsmacked” by the U.S. hunger numbers, which he finds appalling: “The reason that we have this huge increase in hunger in the United States, as around the world, isn’t because there isn’t enough food around. Actually, we produced a pretty reliable solid crop last year. ... The reason people go hungry is because of poverty.” Read more.

stuffed and starved

Thanks for this link Max.

I heard Raj Patel back in February at PASA (search Patel on this site) and I was "gobsmacked" at how articulate and informed this guy is on the global food crisis. Then when Amy Goodman came to Cleveland Heights, I waited around and finally passed a note to someone who was with her asking that she cover the stuffed and starved phenomenon - the global food crisis, Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, Con-Agra, etc. I am very pleased to see this article.

For those who have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing a download of Raj Patel's personal braintrust, here he is telling stories about how entangled what we eat is with the global economic crisis.


So with the recent news that there will be a run on canned pumpkin this Thanksgiving, I am happy that I have grown my own pie pumpkins. I will also be cognizant - more specifically cognizant than ever before that while I enjoy a vegetarian feast, millions starve.

In recent months, I have had the pleasure of a live-in cooking teacher who has taught me many South Indian recipes. It is in that spirit - the spirit of eating simple nutrient rich, affordable, mostly homegrown foods, combined and cooked in new ways, with flavors I never imagined, that I offer a feast menu from Subrosa - an invitation only restaurant in Oregon that sources its food locally. East Indian Thanksgiving. Along with their menu and recipes, they offer the truth about Thanksgiving - From the book called "Lies my Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen.

Our archetypal image of the first Thanksgiving portrays the groaning boards in the woods, with the Pilgrims in their starched Sunday best next to their almost naked Indian guests. As a holiday greeting card puts it, "This is for the Indians we invited to share our food." Remember the handouts that schoolchildren have carried home for decades with captions such as, "They served pumpkins and turkeys and corn and squash. The Indians had never seen such a feast!" In truth, the Pilgrims had literally never seen such a feast. The settlers were ill and starving after a few years.  All these foods had been provided by [or with the aid of] the local tribe.

By now, we all know the facts: The Pilgrims did not introduce the tradition; American Indians had observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries. Although George Washington did set aside days for national thanksgiving, our modern celebrations date back only to 1863. During the Civil War, when the Union needed all the patriotism that such an observance might muster, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. The Pilgrims had nothing to do with it; not until the 1890's did they even get included in the tradition. For that matter, no one used the term Pilgrims until the 1870's.  Now you know… the rest of the story.


This Thanksgiving, consider a new way to invite someone to the table. When we say no to big ag, when we oppose Islam Siddiqui as chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. Trade Office, we take a step toward ending global hunger. Reach out and touch somebody's hand... make this world a better place if you can. This Thanksgiving, buy local food from a farmer whose hand you can shake - say no to big ag as much as you can, say yes to organically grown, say no to GMO. When you slice open that pumpkin (if you do) to make a pie, save the seeds. You can plant them next spring.

The truth about food

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. " - Albert Einstein


I provide that quote, because in addition to what you are saying about Americans needing to know the truth about Thanksgiving Day, it's also important that people know the truth about how food is grown--where the seeds come from, the factories, etc.  Keeping with this idea, there's a writer named Jonathan Safran Foer who has a book out entitled "Eating Animals", which speaks to today's  factory farming practices that result in meat eating's horrific toll on the both the animals being eaten and those doing the eating--humans. 

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) know coloquially as "Franken-Foods" have saturated the US market.  Mansanto and others market their GMO seeds as "better" seeds, when in truth they are worse, causing crop failures where ever they are used.  Farmers in India know to well about the harm GMOs can cause, as many have lost their entire livelyhoods once employing GMO seeds in the hopes of higher crop yeids, only to find themselves economically runied by failed crops--many thereafter commiting suicide.  Thankfully other parts of the world, like Africa and Europe, have for the most part (thus far) rejected GMO's.

You also mention Presidedent Obama's new Chief Agricultural Negotiator, a man who is probably going to do for agriculture what Geithner and Summers did for banking--make it better for themselves, while making it worse--much worse--for us.  So the question becomes, why did Obama, a supposed progressive, install a blue-blood, GMO, capitalist rogue in such an authoritive position of power?  Well, the answer to that goes back to why in other posts and comments I have been critical of his policies and double-speak behavior. 

Obama acts in duplicity.  The man is talking out of both sides of his mouth.  He's trying to serve two masters, ensnaring the real progressives into one faustian deal after the other.  Though for now I will continue to support Obama until I have have a better option put before me.

Can you say Amy Goodman for President, with Cornel West as the Veep?

Additional quotes by Einstein, in relation to being vegetarian-vegan, can be found here


And don't forget to share

And don't forget to share some of what you have with those that don't have....give to the less fortunate.