By On the Road to FARMLANDIA | December 06, 2011 at 11:05 AM EST | No Comments
On Sunday, December 5, farmers from as far east as Maine, from as far west as Colorado, and from Wisconsin, smack dab in the middle, joined their fellow farmers from as far north as 138th Street in the Bronx and as far east as East NY, to converge in an East Village community garden to share their outrage against the corporate machine that has turned agriculture into a factory production line and farmers into serfs on their land. Dave Murphy, Food Democracy Now! joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to bring urban farmers and rural farmers together to show solidarity with their fellow 99%-ers.
A gorgeous day, perfect for a rally and powerful speeches. Mike Callicrate had the crowd of about 400 on their feet when he told them how he had sued the giant meatpackers who squeezed him and other small cattlemen out of the market and won! (many cheers from the crowd), only to have it overturned (boos from the crowd), then on the the Supreme Court (many cheers from the crowd) only to have the Supremes choose to hear the Anna Devere Smith family feud case instead (an explosion of outrage). The message: We have to restore fairness to the marketplace so farmers and ranchers can stay on their land and make a living. We have to take back agriculture from corporate control. And there were more before we set out on the long Farmers March from the lower east side, downtown to Zuccotti Park where Jim Goodman, an organic dairy farmer from Wisconsin reminded me of the anti war protesters of the 60s when he said: "This morning I was milking my cows...tonight I'm joining you: there is no difference between us and the labor unions...the corporations want to take us down, and we say No!" Watch him on Youtube: http://youtu.be/7Yuh6II3eqk
I shot for 7 hours and am still downloading and backing up media, so there will be more. The relationship between farmers and their counterparts in the Occupy movement are clear. A woman from upstate NY yelled "I am a farmer! And I am part of the 99%" a message that rippled through the human mic at Zuccotti, over and over and over, until everyone there got the message. Like I said, it was a gorgeous day!