Over the past year, several high-profile merger proposals have threatened to push the agriculture world into the hands of just a few huge corporations. But what—and who—exactly is “Big Agriculture”? Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg answers this and discusses challenges facing the global food system on this week’s episode of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Nourishing Millions podcast.
The podcast, co-presented with the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, aims to tell the stories of the people and organizations taking leading roles in combating malnutrition and food insecurity.
“While we in the West think that we have a lot of information to share with farmers in poor or less-developed countries, I think that the reverse is actually more true,” Nierenberg says on the podcast. “There’s a lot of information that can be shared from farmers in the global South that will help all of us, whether we’re farmers or eaters, to build a more sustainable food system.”
Sometimes when thinking about “Big Ag,” Nierenberg says, we tend to demonize large farms—but many are operated by hardworking families. She explains on the podcast that the real reason for the disconnect between us and the food we eat is actually corporatization. Nierenberg credits Food Tank’s Summits, which bring together farmers, chefs, researchers, and agriculture industry representatives, with establishing dialogue surrounding the food system.
“We’re not going to agree on anything, or most things even, but we need to all be talking to one another and making sure we’re actually listening,” she says on the podcast. “Because until we do that, this idea of a sustainable food system is also not going to come about. We need to get out of our own heads and start talking to others.”