Getting ready to take some time off for July 4, Independence Day. I find myself thinking about our economic independence, in light of a number of recent news developments in the food arena. 


* I saw a report that the U.S. Supreme Court has, over the last three years, decided in favor of corporate interests nearly 90% of the time. Makes me feel awfully naive to have thought that in Maine’s Food Sovereignty case, learned judges of that state’s Supreme Court might actually relate to the simple notion that farmers can produce and sell food directly to members of their community— outside the system of distributors, processors, and huge supermarkets— the way it always has been in this country and around the world. 


Yet all the Maine judges could do was partake of awkward verbal exercises so as to conclude—despite the fact that not a single person has been sickened in Maine by raw milk as far back as anyone can remember—that whatever the State said about “public health” was fine by them. Damn those crazy Food Sovereignty theories, the judges decided, after seeming during their court hearing on the Dan Brown case to show a sense of understanding about the importance of locally-produced food. 


* That factory chicken producer in California I wrote about last year, Foster Farms—the one that promised the U.S. Department of Agriculture it would clean up its act and stop making people sick with antibiotic-resistant salmonella…..well, it keeps making people sick. It’s made nearly 600 people sick—including 50 in a recent two-week period— and it hasn’t lost a day of production, or suffered a fine, or had to carry out any kind of recall.


No State lawyers making grandiose speeches about “public health.” No self-important judges in their black robes asking questions about what the regulators are doing to protect “public health.” Just a bunch of corporate hacks telling the regulators, “We’re doing better, fewer people getting sick this month than last. We’re getting a grip on this doggone bugger.”


* Monsanto profits continue to rise, as does its stock price. This despite ongoing worldwide protests against its genetically modified corn and soy. Monsanto sees it profits doubling over the next five years. It “has rolled out more high-tech soybean seeds that boast built-in protection against insects and weed-killing sprays,” says a report


* Hillary Clinton, the presume Democratic nominee for President in 2016, tells biotech executives she’s okay with genetically modified foods. ““I stand in favor of using seeds and products that have a proven track record,” she said, citing drought-resistant seeds she backed as secretary of state. “There’s a big gap between the facts and what the perceptions are.”


* The Hillary-and-Bill “money machine” has raised upwards of $2 billion for the Clintons and their political pursuits since the 1990s, The Wall Street Journal reports. Most of that has come from corporations, some of which no doubt benefit from the Clintons’ backing of GMOs around the world. And you think Hillary Clinton as President might be sympathetic to sustainable farming and food rights? 


Have a happy non-corporate-sponsored July 4, with plenty of local food.