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Corporate agribusiness entities have created a false moral imperative about feeding the world. We see it perpetuated by people like former American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman who said: “Many farmers feel strongly that it’s the duty of the less than 1% of the U.S. population still directly involved in farming to help feed the masses.”

Here are three reasons why Iowa doesn’t and shouldn’t aim to feed the world:

1. Farmers aren’t incentivized to grow food. People don’t eat soybeans and corn; corporate-owned pigs at factory farms do. Agribusiness interests incentivize the overproduction of these commodity crops to create cheap feed for corporate controlled factory farms, all while degrading our natural resources and hurting farmers who are forced to farm fence-row to fence-row to try to scrape by. Farmers receive prices lower than the cost of production, while all the profits go straight to the top.

2. This false narrative is rooted in racism and the patriarchy. The corporate-conservative agenda that puts profits before everything is deeply tied to the oppression of people based on the color of their skin, where they come from, and their gender.

Our corporate-controlled agriculture system is no exception and is dependent on the division of everyday people based on perceived differences. At the root of this false narrative is the concept that white male farmers know best how to feed people all across the globe. And these seeds grow the kind of barriers that have kept Black farmers from landownership since Emancipation.

3. Our highly industrial agriculture system is far less resilient than the smaller, regional and diversified family farm operations it replaced. Because of the rampant consolidation over the last 40 years, if one piece of the system is removed the whole thing crumbles. There is no flexibility. As a result during the COVID-19 pandemic, we see cars line up for miles outside of food banks across the country while farmers are forced to kill livestock, dump milk and waste food. Instead of corporations monopolizing a global market and having CEOs dictate how food should be grown “for the world”, we need to stop and re-evaluate how we do better. That starts with a moratorium on factory farms.

It’s safe to say that the make up of our industrial agriculture system is not to feed the world but at the root is created by decades of bad policy driven by corporate greed.

For more content like this sign up here to receive ‘The Dispatch” a monthly publication on all things food and water related from Iowa CCI.

Last week,  CCI members joined allies to Occupy the World Food Prize  to protest the World Food Prize being awarded to scientists from Monsanto and Syngenta who invented Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – the corporations that fuel factory farms in Iowa.

The week of action sparked a vigorous debate, changed the mainstream media coverage of the World Food Prize, educated the public, strengthened relationships between allied partner organizations, demonstrated movement power, and put corporate ag on the defensive.

CCI Members were joined in the week of action by Occupy the World Food Prize, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Oxfam, the Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture Students Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network.

Occupy World Food Prize week by the numbers:

  • 10 events
  • 11 days of action
  • 750 CCI members took to the streets
  • 347,114 petition signatures against GMOs and the World Food Prize delivered

Food should nourish our bodies, souls, land and communities not destroy them.  People across the world are waking up to the realities of corporate farming, and now it’s our time to take back our food system!  

If you didn’t get a chance to come to any of the events check out some of the news articles – it was a battle of competing narratives all week!


World Food Prize Stirs Controversy – USA Today

Monsanto Looks for ‘New Words’ on GMOs –

Marchers protest World Food Prize, Monsanto – Des Moines Register

World Food Prize event in Iowa confronts divisive issues of biotech crops and global warming – Washington Post

Protesters denounce ag groups, support alternatives to GMOs – Des Moines Register

Ghana cleric attends Occupy meeting – Des Moines Register

World Food Prize recipients defend their work – Radio Iowa


Ready to take action? Mark your calendars for the 2014 CCI Rally & Lobby Day at the Capitol on January 14, 2014.  CCI members from across the state will converge at the capitol to tell our elected leaders it’s time to PUT PEOPLE FIRST!


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  • Join as an Iowa CCI member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
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11-day “Occupy World Food Prize” Week of Action Will Begin At Noon, October 12 With A March Against Monsanto Beginning From Des Moines City Hall 

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members have released the full list of the 11-day “Occupy the World Food Prize” week of action in coordination with the main sponsor, Occupy the World Food Prize, and other co-sponsors and partners, including Iowa CCI members, Food and Water Watch, Iowa Right to Know, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture Student Association.

“GMOs and factory farms are destroying Iowa, independent family farmers, and the planet, but the Occupy World Food Prize week of action shows everyday people are standing up and fighting back,” said Larry Ginter, a farmer and CCI member from Rhodes, Iowa.

Iowa CCI members say the week of grassroots mobilizations will begin with an October 12 March Against Monsanto and will likely peak on Wednesday, October 16, when hundreds of people are expected to turnout for a speech by Texas populist Jim Hightower titled “From GMOs to Factory Farms, the Upchuck Rebellion Is Taking Root”.   But events will continue past October 16 in both Ames and Des Moines.

Occupy the World Food Prize Week of Action 

October 12-22

*all events in Des Moines unless otherwise noted

Oct 12 – Saturday

March Against Monsanto, 12 noon

Des Moines City Hall, 400 Robert D. Ray Drive

Oct 15 – Tuesday

The Life and Times of Family Farm Defender Bishop Maurice Dingman
featuring Father Dave Polish, Brother Dave Andrews, and more
7pm, Iowa CCI statewide Headquarters, 2001 Forest Avenue


Oct 16 – Wednesday

4pm – Occupy WFP press conference with Jim Hightower, World Food Prize building, 100 Locust St.

5pm – Devil’s Mask Protest Vigil at World Food Prize building, 100 Locust St.

6pm – Private small group meeting between Occupy WFP, Iowa CCI, and Cardinal Peter Turkson

7pm – From GMOs to Factory Farms, the Upchuck Rebellion is Taking Root

Jim Hightower Takes on Corporate Ag and the World Food Prize
First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant St.
Also featuring Cardinal Peter Turkson

Oct 17 – Thursday

6pm – Protest the World Food Prize Ceremony, Nonviolent Direct Action
“People’s Park”, West park of State Capitol – 700 East Locust Street

7pm – Food, Land, and Small Producers with Frances Moore Lappé
Ames United Church of Christ, 217 6th Street, Ames

Oct 19 – Saturday 

8am-3pm – Jane Bibber Memorial Symposium & Strong, Feisty Woman Award Luncheon
f/Frances Moore Lappé and the winners of the alternative Food Sovereignty Prize
First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1800 Bell Avenue

Oct 22 – Tuesday

8pm—Foodopoly:   the Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming
A speech by Wenonah Hauter of Food and Water Watch
Iowa State Memorial Union Sun Room, Ames

An ad-hoc coalition of community organizations, including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Occupy Ames, Occupy Des Moines, Food and Water Watch, and the ISU Sustainable Agriculture Student Association have organized a series of events October 13-20 as part of the “Occupy the World Food Prize” week of action.

The goals are simple:

  • to educate the public about how and why the corporate control of our food supply is bad for the environment and the public health,
  • to expose the corporate ag agenda behind the World Food Prize,
  • and, at least for Iowa CCI members, to win some concrete victories like –
    1) a total ban on the application of liquid manure on ground going into soybeans
    2) progressive reforms to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) factory farm enforcement program.

Each event, panel discussion, public hearing, direct action, and meeting with top decision-makers will appeal to different groups of people at different times for different reasons, but taken as a whole, the “Occupy World Food Prize” week of action will be much greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Iowa CCI members are focusing on two specific events during the larger week of action:

  • The second is a meeting between Iowa CCI members, our allies at the Environmental Integrity Project and the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club, and Karl Brooks, the Region 7 Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on Thursday, October 18 to discuss a new DNR work plan to bring Iowa into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.



Dates and times for all events are below:


Saturday, October 13

• Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Training, 8am-noon

Iowa CCI statewide headquarters, 2001 Forest Avenue, Des Moines

Sunday, October 14

• An afternoon with the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, 2-4pm

Winner of the 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize

Featuring Beomok Bok and Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau

Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A

Monday, October 15

• An afternoon with the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, 1-2pm

First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell, in Des Moines.

• An evening with the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, 6-7:30pm

Sun Room, Memorial Union Building, Iowa State University

Tuesday, October 16

Ban the Spreading of Liquid Manure on Soybeans, 9am-1pm

Environmental Protection Commission Meeting, 7900 Hickman Road, Windsor Heights

Meet at Iowa CCI statewide headquarters at 9am, 2001 Forest Avenue, Des Moines

Contact us if you can attend. TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPC to enact the full ban here.

• Panel Discussion:”What is corporate agriculture and why is it wrong for the planet and the human race?”

6-8pm, Des Moines Public Library, 1000 Grand Ave.

Panel Participants:  Denise O’Brien—National Family Farm Coalition; Francis Thicke—author, “A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture”; CCI member George Naylor—Iowa Farm Unity Coalition, CCI member; Barbara Kalbach—4th generation family farmer, CCI member.

Wednesday, October 17

• Direct Action Civil Disobedience- World Food Prize building, 100 Locust Street

Rockefeller Foundation endowed award, 4pm

Thursday, October 18

• Iowa CCI meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks

7-9pm, State Historical Building, 600 East Locust Street

Contact us if you can attend. TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPA to push the DNR to crack down on factory farms here.

• Direct Action Civil Disobedience before the World Food Prize Award Ceremony

Iowa State Capitol, 6pm

Friday, October 19

• “The Food Sovereignty Prize – What is it? Why we need to promote it.”,

7pm, 1st Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines

Saturday, October 20

• Occupy the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute held at DuPont/Pioneer

Headquarters, 8am-3:30pm, 7000 NW 62nd Avenue. Johnston, Iowa


 Learn more

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