ETC Group is a small, international, research and action collective committed to social and environmental justice, human rights and the defence of just and ecological agri-food systems and the web of life. We focus on understanding and challenging corporate-controlled techno-industrial systems and exposing the dangers of the technological manipulation of life, especially in relation to climate justice and food security. We uphold peasant and indigenous ways of life and knowledge systems; food sovereignty; people’s control of technology; and just economies and governance.
Who Will Control the Food System: episode 2
Tune into the next episode in our latest podcast mini-series, Who Will Control the Food System, where we uncover just who's pulling the strings of industrial agriculture, dissect the latest corporate strategies, and take inspiration from the peoples and movements fighting back.
In this second episode, Zahra Moloo talks to Kelly Bronson, a social scientist at the University of Ottawa in Canada, about her research into the secretive legal agreements surrounding agricultural big data, to trace how it is used and with what consequences. In particular, what happens when big data is embedded in pre-existing arrangements of power and corporate strategies?
Take tractors, for example. ‘Digital’ tractors are not like the vehicles of times past. They have built-in sensors that collect data and stream it to cloud-based infrastructure. Critically, the digital business model means that the farmer does not own the tractor, or the software that is embedded in the tractor, or even the data that is generated by the equipment. Rather, when a farmer purchases a tractor from a farm machinery company such as John Deere the farmer only receives a “license to operate the vehicle.” It is the company, Deere, that owns all of it.
Not only that, but the farmer also has to pay (in addition to paying to use the tractor) for automated data services or data support services that will provide him with technical advice – which the farmer must follow – on what, when and how to plant in his own field.
What is this data that is generated from the tractor? How is data more generally captured in the context of agriculture? Who uses it? Why doesn’t the farmer own it?
In this second episode Zahra Moloo and Kelly Bronson talk about Bronson's new book, “The Immaculate Conception of Data: Agribusiness, Activists, and Their Shared Politics of the Future.”
Listen in as we explore these questions!
Who will control the food system? episode 1
Industrial agriculture is not so much jumping on the “Food Systems Transformation” band wagon as trying to steal it!
Don’t fall for the UN’s new Food Systems Coordination Hub hype about “Transforming Food Systems for Planetary Health”. The current corporate agenda, championed by this new “Hub” is firmly focused on hijacking the UN’s existing food systems spaces to force through yet another phase of Industrial Agriculture – promoting its technofixes as solutions to the very problems that it itself has caused, including in relation to climate change and biodiversity loss.
Tune into our latest podcast mini-series, where we uncover just who's pulling the strings of industrial agriculture, dissect the latest corporate strategies, and take inspiration from the peoples and movements fighting back.
In this first episode, Zahra Moloo, Neth Daño and Kavya Chowdhry talk through a recent trend: corporations that until now had nothing to do with food but are now pouring money into it. Which corporations are these, and why and how are they jumping on the band wagon? And what are the Big Ag giants up to amidst this scenario?
Listen in as we explore these questions!
COP15: an interview with Sabrina Masinjila
In this interview, Sabrina Masinjila, from the African Centre for Biodiversity, speaks to ETC Group about some key targets in the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) being negotiated at COP15 in Montreal. She explains the importance of agroecology and agricultural diversity in Target 10 of the GBF, and why these are so important for biodiversity in the future.
COP15: An interview with Christine von Weizsäcker
Find out what's happening at the Convention on Biological Diversity's COP 15 in Montreal, with this introduction to the COP by guest interviewee Christine von Weizsäcker. You can read the full transcript of the interview over at our website at: https://www.etcgroup.org/content/cop15-audio-introduction.
Is the UN Convention on Biodiversity losing the precautionary plot?
The push to get untried and untested corporate-backed bio- and digital technologies accepted as ‘nature-positive solutions’ is taking place in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as climate negotiations. The long-postponed global biodiversity summit (COP-15) of the Parties to the CBD, which was supposed to take place in Kunming in China in 2020, is now taking place in Montreal in December. In Montreal a high-profile ‘Global Biodiversity Framework’ will be launched to determine the priorities for the next 30 years of biodiversity governance..
We’ve been working hard to try and ensure that the Global Biodiversity Framework and ongoing work of the Convention includes critical agreements to implement horizon scanning, technology assessment and monitoring of new and emerging technologies – especially modern biotechnologies. Governments need to give the green light to this next step in the Convention’s work, or risk undoing and undermining over a quarter century of commitments to the precautionary principle. This would, in essence, change the entire nature and ethos of the CBD and open the door to many risky and unjust technologies.
Jim Thomas, Silvia Ribeiro and Tom Wakeford will be at COP-15 in Montreal in December. In this 5-minute mini-podcast Jim outlines why horizon scanning, technology assessment and monitoring must be included in the new ‘post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’ and the CBD’s Work Programme on Synthetic Biology.
Life, the Pluriverse and Everything
In celebration of United Nations World Philosophy Day 2021, ETC Group presents its third and final podcast in the "Spanner in the System" series, focussing on the philosophical underpinnings of corporate visions for disruptive technology, together with Dr Saurabh Arora from the University of Sussex.
This podcast is part of ETC Group’s new three-part mini-series about Disruptive Technologies, produced by ETC Group in the Asia-Pacific region in collaboration with Puma Podcasts. Supported by Heinrich Böll Stiftung.