Seeding reparations

Building a framework for structural change in the food system

Food production, which accounts for at least 10% of the global economy, is the single most harmful activity that humans have on the planet.

The British Empire’s corporations created this exploitative food system on a bedrock of structural racism and environmental destruction. From the enslavement of Black Africans, and the indenture of East and South-East Asian workers to labour on plantations in the new world, the relentless drive for profit led to deforestation to enable the cultivation of monocultures and the introduction of invasive species, altering native environments.

Then and now, the industrial food system continues to devastate nature, and produce structurally unequal outcomes.

This is a joint project with ETC Group and Tipping Point UK.

What's the problem?

There is currently no clear way to compel large British food companies to repair historic and ongoing harms that they have inflicted on people, communities, nature, and climate. These companies have caused (and continue to cause) a vast amount of damage, sapping huge amounts of resources and causing unfair and unequal outcomes for consumers, workers, and communities across the globe.

There is also a risk of history repeating itself. The Slave Compensation Act 1837 compensated slave owners rather than those who were enslaved – that injustice remains unaddressed. Today, regular taxpayers are at risk of having to pay for Big Ag’s transition to “nature-based” solutions.

No more payments from the public purse. Instead, let’s make sure Big Ag pays what they owe for their harms to people and planet.


What's the solution?

To create a sustainable food system we must centre food justice. A core element of this is recognising the devastating impact that large food corporations have had on our planet and communities. These companies must be held to account for the environmental and social damage they have wrought in the name of private profit.

Meaningful food system transformation has to be anti-racist, and reparations are a key part of this. Reparations can repair the damage of these large food corporations and create a pathway for a just and sustainable food system.


What can you do to make a difference?

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How the British Empire Built the Food System that Is Destroying the Planet

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