It is in the ‘slow kitchens’ of traditional communities with ingredients from one’s field or their neighbour’s gardens, where varieties of cuisines and healthy food was once cooked. However, the rapid pace with which a handful of companies around the world are brutally destroying our food systems stands in sharp contrast to the slow manner in which we once cooked and consumed food. In nations that have seen shifting and settled agriculture for more than 10,000 years, the modern-day corporations consider themselves to be the right candidates to bring in quick-fix solutions.
Genetically modified crops (GMO crops) now fill the plates of most consumers. Even in countries such as India, where people’s resistance has so far kept GMO food-cultivation illegal, GMO food imports have increased rampantly. Movements have clamoured for the labelling of GMO products, but the companies lobbying on the other side have always struck this demand down.
The following photo-essay juxtaposes the kitchens in Asia, Africa and Latin America (where varieties of chemical-free and nutritious food, full of flavour, was cooked) with GMO, chemical-filled and exploitative food items that are now making their way into people’s kitchens. Food sovereignty and sustainability are being killed by systematic land-grab policies and free trade agreements, which make communities (that have historically produced thousands of varieties of corn, millets, beans, bananas, coffee, chocolate and spices) highly dependent on GMOs and the low-quality processed food items of Unilever, Nestle, Kellogs, Tesco, Chiquita, ACE, Hersheys, Nutrela and Starbucks.
A traditional Umqombothi (corn beer) is being brewed before a ritual of the Xhosa people/ACE, the producer of maize meal sold to the poor black population in South Africa, is contaminated with as much as 80% of GMO corn.
Rotis made from wheat are being cooked on a chulha after which dadi will layer them with homemade ghee/Especially after the Europe-India FTA, the French dairy Danone is systematically destroying local Indian dairy cooperatives.
In the resistance camps of the MST (Movement of Rural Landless Workers) in Brazil, pots of beans and rice cooked by the communities lie unwashed/The Tesco Company is brutally destroying the Amazon rainforest and the lives of indigenous people, while it ironically washes its hands clean by marketing and selling products such as ‘organic’ Brazilian nuts.
Tortillas, made from freshly-ground corn, are cooked on the comal/After the NAFTA agreement, cheap GMO corn in the form of products such as Unilever’s Maizena, are flooding Central American kitchens.
In a small farmstead in Tanzania, varieties of banana dry in the sun. These will be eaten during the off-season or be sold in local markets to generate extra income/Chiquita, a Swiss brand, are forcing their way into farmers’ fields in East Africa, where traditionally, more than a 1,000 varieties of bananas have been grown.
Homemade tacos are made of several varieties of corn, often for lunch/The Kellogs company, one of the largest food monopolies, uses palm oil grown in plantations, destroying people’s lives while also making use of child labour in Far-East Asia.
Roasted millet rotis are cooked on an open fire/Companies such as Nutrela illegally import refined soya oil (containing high quantities of GMO soya) into South Asia, destroying local oil systems.
Pozol, a traditional foamy chocolate drink, is prepared in Chiapas, Mexico/Ferrero Rocher stands accused of using child labour in their chocolate factories in West Africa.
Coffee is grown locally and filtered overnight for sale to local consumers/The Starbucks mermaid logo, a symbol of exploitation of coffee farmers, workers and animals across the globe.