Submitted by Kevin Snow, Might Earth Media Intern.
Mighty Earth hosted a webinar on June 24 featuring four speakers each covering a different element of the “Destructive Path of Meat” from farm to table. The webinar educated community members on the social injustices of industrial meat production, including COVID-19 outbreaks at meat processing facilities and fake meat shortages that forced at-risk employees back to work. The webinar also highlighted the racial disparities of these social injustices, specifically noting how black and indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted.
“Workers on poultry slaughter and processing lines, many of whom are women, immigrants, and people of color, are among the most exploited in the United States,” said Meghan Jones of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. “There are also racial disparities in access to healthy food, tied to racial disparities in income inequality. People of color are more likely to be food insecure, meaning they can’t afford enough healthy food to feed their families.”
Speakers illuminated the complicated path from farm to table through the global meat supply chain. Richard Conlin, a consultant on sustainability and food policy, focused in particular on deforestation and climate change in food systems. Pendle Marshall-Hallmark, a Climate Campaigner with Amazon Watch, concentrated on deforestation’s impact on indigenous communities. Finally, Beth Robbinette, farmer at Lazy R Ranch and co-founder of LINC foods, spoke about alternatives to factory farming in addition to offering insights on how to avoid deforestation and meatpacking plants through one’s purchasing practices.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to change the paradigm of agriculture in this country, as half of our farmland is set to change hands in the next 20 years. By investing in people and supply chains, we can bring a new generation of land managers onto the landscape who bring with them a more holistic and just framework for food production,” said Robbinette.
To enact positive environmental change, Mighty Earth seeks to hold companies like Cargill accountable for their destructive practices and to promote alternative purchasing solutions for consumers. Cargill’s practices are destroying the Amazon rainforest as well as damaging many indigenous communities in Brazil.