Last week I shared my feelings about Bill Gates purchasing farmland. I want to be clear that I stand by everything that I said and I am wholly unapologetic about it. That being said, I was surprised by the number of comments that it generated. A few of them were directed at me for being a dumbass. Folks are entitled to their opinion. I was asked to give mine and I did. Most of the comments were focused on how evil and destructive Bill Gates is. He may be, I don't know him. Even if he is, it's still not why I hate to see him control land…
We live in a time where most of the food we have access to is controlled by a very small number of multinational corporations.
This infographic showcases this small group and the scope of their control.
This centralization of food is something we commonly rail against in the meat industry. Unfortunately, it is also a reality for almost all food industries. This level of scalability has been made possible by the application of the sort of technologies that made Bill Gates a billionaire.
These technologies have made it possible for a small number of multinational corporations to have control over the entire planet's food supply. Further, the centralization of food production impoverishes our rural communities as it creates an oligopoly.
This centralization of food production is also bad for consumers. This system lacks resilience. When mega-production facilities that are focused on efficiency break down, consumers' access to food can become limited, which causes panic. This state of panic allows multinational companies to increase their profits exponentially.
When the driving goal of our food production system is efficiency, as opposed to resiliency, consumers suffer. If Bill Gates and other technocrats like him own large parcels of land, their control is taken to a whole new level.
The technocrat's answer to all of our food production problems has been the integration of linear, siloed, reductionist-science-based scalable technology. This approach has proven to be highly effective for complicated linear systems (think computers and machines). It has also been proven that these technologies are equally disastrous when applied to complex cyclable systems (think farm, eco-system, your body).
Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, GMOs, sub-therapeutic antibiotics, and hormone implants are the sort of reductive technologies that folks like Bill Gates provide for us to “improve” the productivity of nature. These technologies result in horrible, unintended consequences that adversely affect our land, water, climate, and livestock.
They have taken us in the wrong direction at a neck-breaking pace.
The likelihood of the further misapplication of technology is the reason that I am opposed to our land being managed by Bill Gates and anyone else who does not understand how to harvest the abundance of Nature. The proper land steward must respect the cycles of Nature.
If Mr. Gates wants to come to White Oak Pastures or to send someone, come on, I'll show you how I manage my land. As you can see from the image below, we're doing something right here in Bluffton.