Farms Not Factories

Olympics, Food and the Corporate Takeover

Posted on April 5, 2012 by domi

Pig Business have been invited to take part in a panel organised by the Campaign for Real Farming.

You can view the full programme of the 2 day event here:
Press Release

Please see below for a guest post by Ruth West about the issues behind the event.

The Olympic Games is all about excellence and showcasing what’s best about British. The London 2012 bid “promised a memorable occasion that will make a positive impact before, during and beyond the main event”. This is supposed to apply to the food and drink on offer there. Those in charge of the catering are “committed to delivering a tastier, healthier, greener Games”.

But the Games need sponsorship. Thus they come with ready made global partners CocaCola and McDonalds. In return, CocaCola gets sole rights to the sale of non-alcholic beverages; McDonalds is the official restaurant of the games, providing 10% of the food. They are joined by two-tier sponsor Cadbury — paying £20m – £40m; defending their presence by saying that they are only providing “treats” which are ok if “part of an overall responsible diet”. … And we can’t leave the confectionary contract to fall into foreign hands.

And of course there’s the sheer volume of food that has to be produced — it’s called the “largest peace-time catering operation in the world”– to be considered. “More than 10,000 athletes are participating, 8.6 million tickets will be available for the Olympic Games, with another 1.5 million for the Paralympic Games. And 300,000 tourists are expected to travel to the Games from outside the UK. By 2012, 1.3 million meals will have been served to construction workers, with a further 13 million meals expected to be consumed by Olympic and Paralympic visitors (the public, athletes, staff, volunteers, dignitaries and journalists).”

What else can one do but hand the catering to the corporates? Step up Compass Group, Aramark, BaxterStorey, Sodexo and The NEC Group. In all about 20 companies are involved, between them owning all the brands you can possibly think of (including Leiths).

Then there’s the matter of the allotments that had to make way for the Olympic Park; and the controversy over Dow Chemicals being allowed to sponsor the Games, which David Cameron has shrugged off saying that “Dow Chemical didn’t own Union Carbide at the time of the [Bhopal] disaster and the sponsorship was arranged by the IOC”.

So just what is the spirit of the Games that we’re all supposed to be proud of?
And if we’re not proud of it — could things be different?

We invite you to join us in discussion and debate at the Cork Street Art Gallery, with artists Stephen Vince and Peter Rodulfo on April 11, 12, 13 and 14.

Ruth West
Campaign for Real Farming

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