Tech billionaire Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, could seem a wierd match for the position of America’s high farmer. But he’s been quietly amassing large tracts of U.S. land below the duvet of funding agency Cascade Investment LLC, and now owns a minimal of 242,000 acres of U.S. farmland.1
The discovering was outed by Eric O’Keefe’s journal, The Land Report, which places out an inventory of the 100 greatest landowners within the U.S. annually. It was a 2020 buy of 14,500 “prime” acres in Washington state that first caught O’Keefe’s consideration, as he calls any sale of greater than 1,000 acres “blue moon events.”
When he dug deeper, the purchaser of the 14,500 acres — within the coronary heart of some of the costliest acreage in America — was recorded as a small Louisiana firm. “That immediately set off alarm bells,” O’Keefe informed the New York Post.2 It turned out the corporate was appearing on behalf of Cascade Investment for Bill Gates, and he owns land not solely in Washington but in addition in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, California and a number of different states.
“Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has an alter ego,” O’Keefe wrote. “Farmer Bill, the guy who owns more farmland than anyone else in America.”3 Clearly Gates has a giant imaginative and prescient for all that land, however sadly it doesn’t contain natural, biodynamic or regenerative farming strategies, that are wanted to heal ecosystems and produce really sustainable, nourishing meals for future generations.
Instead, the acreage appears earmarked for much more genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy crops — the bottom meals for what’s going to turn into an more and more artificial, ultraprocessed meals provide.
Gates and Fake Meat Bigwigs Aim for Industrialized Farming
Imitation meat firm Impossible Foods was co-funded by Google, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates,4 and Gates has made it clear that he believes switching to artificial beef is the answer to decreasing methane emissions that come from animals raised on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).5
The robust suggestion to substitute beef with pretend meat is made in Gates’ e-book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need,” which was launched in February 2021.6 In an interview with MIT Technology Review, he goes as far as to say that folks’s behaviors needs to be modified to study to like pretend meat and, if that doesn’t work, laws may do the trick.7
In the U.S., customers are more and more in search of out healthful, actual, minimally processed meals. Fake meat just like the Impossible Burger is the alternative — a extremely processed pretend meals, however one which’s disguised as one thing good for you and the atmosphere.
Where in nature can you discover elements like genetically engineered yeast, soy protein focus, modified meals starch and soy protein isolate? The reply is nowhere, and therein lies a key half of the issue.
However, Gates, together with Pat Brown, founder of Impossible Foods, believes that the “winning strategy” for the long run of farming entails “finding ways for farmers to produce more corn and soybeans on every acre … while substantially lowering carbon emissions.”8 According to Fortune:9
“Surprisingly, both Gates and Brown believe that genetically modified seeds and chemical herbicides, in the right doses — and not land-intensive organic farming — are crucial to curbing carbon emissions.”
Gates and Brown Support GMOs and Chemicals
When animals are raised in accordance to regenerative agriculture, a whole ecosystem is created, one that’s each therapeutic for the land and productive for the farmers who maintain it. Eating meat just isn’t synonymous with harming the atmosphere; it is industrial farming practices that inflict the harm. Some additionally consider consuming meat means ripping out extra forests so animals can graze, however usually it’s grasslands and prairies which have been plowed up to plant a surplus of corn for ethanol.
U.S. cropland is already dominated by a two-crop planting cycle of corn and soybeans, largely for industrial animal feed. Like concentrated animal feeding operations, these chemical-laden monocrops are devastating the atmosphere, and though they’re plant meals, are half of the issue, not the answer.
Rather than reverting to regenerative agriculture, by which livestock and crops are built-in right into a symbiotic, complementary system that mimics the best way nature works, agrochemical firms like Syngenta are utilizing gene enhancing, genetic engineering, chemical compounds and biologics to create hybrid seed traces, crops resistant to winds, flooding and droughts and different lab-created agricultural components.
It’s all primarily based on know-how to advance seed and crop protections, in what’s referred to as “the new paradigm of farming.” If Gates has his approach, natural might be pushed out of the image. Fortune reported:10
“Gates — America’s biggest owner of farmland — acknowledges that organic farming is more harmful to the environment than conventional farming. Asked by Rashida Jones on a December 2020 podcast, ‘Does eating organic help [reduce emissions]?’ Gates replied, ‘No, organic produce requires more land than typical farming techniques. I know that’s not a popular answer.’ Jones riposted, ‘Hard take, Bill!’”
Brown can also be pro-GMOs and chemical herbicides. Fortune continued:11
“In an article from 2019, Brown wrote that Impossible was going through a scarcity of soy as a result of it relied on farms that didn’t use genetically modified seeds. The cause: Non-modified seed wasn’t almost as resistant to illness, reducing output and forcing farmers to use way more herbicide.
Brown discovered that going with genetically modified crops supplied each the additional provide he wanted, and gave burgers the ‘beefy texture’ his followers craved. ‘The safest and most environmentally friendly option to allow us to scale up production and provide the Impossible Burger to consumers at the lowest possible cost is GM soy,’ he mentioned.”
It’s an extremely short-sighted assertion, nonetheless, that fully ignores the various downsides of GM soy, which embrace devastating results on bugs like monarch butterflies in addition to the promotion of herbicide-resistant superweeds.
Testing by Moms Across America additionally revealed the Impossible Burger incorporates glyphosate, the lively ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which has been proven to alter the gene operate of over 4,000 genes within the livers, kidneys and trigger extreme organ harm in rats at ranges of simply 0.1 half per billion.12 The Impossible Burger contained 11.3 ppb (glyphosate and its break down AMPA).
Biotech PR Campaign to Convince You to Eat Synthetic Food
U.S. Right to Know reporter Stacy Malkan tweeted in March 2021 that Bill Gates’ plans to remake our meals methods are an issue for each farmers and customers who don’t need to eat GE corn and soy that’s become processed, artificial meals merchandise.13
Whether or not it’s “unpopular” doesn’t matter, although, as Gates mentioned he thinks wealthy international locations needs to be consuming all pretend meat. When requested whether or not he thinks plant-based and lab-grown meats may “be the full solution to the protein problem globally,” he says that, in middle- to above-income international locations, sure, and that folks can “get used to it”:14
The plan to get customers used to changing their burgers with artificial, pretend meals has been underway since a minimum of 2014, when a bunch of highly effective agribusiness executives met to manage a PR marketing campaign that will put artificial biology and GMOs in a extra favorable mild. Dana Perls, from Friends of the Earth, attended the assembly and later wrote:15
“The assembly was below Chatham House guidelines — which suggests I can’t disclose who mentioned what. However, I can say that the assembly was an alarming perception into the artificial biology trade’s course of of making a sugar-coated media narrative to confuse the general public, ignore the dangers, and declare the mantle of ‘sustainability’ for probably worthwhile new artificial biology merchandise.
Over the course of the day, primarily CEOs, administrators and PR individuals from highly effective chemical and artificial biology firms, bounced round tales of promise, mentioned how to place artificial biology as a ‘solution’ to world starvation, and made blithe claims of security that weren’t backed up by any precise knowledge.
… When I requested how biotech firms will defend small farmers who’re producing the really pure merchandise, I used to be met with a tough chilly stare, silence and a non-answer about needing to meet shopper demand.”
In a recap of the important thing take-away factors from the assembly, Perls mentioned the trade’s PR technique included not utilizing the phrases “synthetic biology” and “genetically engineered,” which have damaging connotations, and making an attempt to change the general public narrative by capturing feelings and flooding the media with feel-good tales about artificial biology.
The group agreed that the trade ought to stay self-regulated as a lot as doable, and that the outcomes of company research shouldn’t be public information. They even prompt that the trade ought to current the picture that they’re looking for meals sustainability, transparency and meals sovereignty. But, Perls famous, “When I pointed out that corporate-controlled synthetic biology is the antithesis of ‘food sovereignty,’ I was met again with stony silence.”16
UN Food Summit Boycotted Over Agribusiness Influence
Corporate pursuits are additionally dominating the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit, and tons of of farmers and human rights teams are boycotting it in consequence. They consider it favors agribusiness pursuits, elite foundations and the exploitation of African meals methods.17
The Summit claims it’s convening to “launch bold new actions to transform the way the world produces and consumes food,”18 however critics say it’s biased towards industrial, company farming whereas leaving out these in regenerative agriculture and the information of indigenous individuals.19
The controversy started proper from the beginning, when U.N. secretary basic António Guterres appointed Agnes Kalibata because the occasion’s head. Kalibata is the previous Rwandan agriculture minister who’s now the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a company funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.20
AGRA is actually a Gates Foundation subsidiary, and whereas some of its tasks seem to be helpful, most of its targets are centered on selling biotechnology and chemical fertilizers. AGRA was launched in 2006 with funding from Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.
After greater than a decade, AGRA’s affect has considerably worsened the state of affairs within the 18 African nations focused by this “philanthropic” endeavor. Hunger below AGRA’s route elevated by 30% and rural poverty rose dramatically.21
Concerns that the Summit was dominated by company trade heightened when its idea paper included precision agriculture, knowledge assortment and genetic engineering as pillars for addressing meals safety whereas leaving out regenerative agriculture.
As reported by The Guardian, Michael Fakhri, the U.N. particular rapporteur on the correct to meals, wrote to Kalibata stating that the Summit was targeted on “science and technology, money and markets” whereas leaving basic questions on inequality, accountability and governance unaddressed.22
Corporate Ideology Is Pushing Out Real Regeneration
Unfortunately, the U.N. Food Summit is now poised to bow down to company ideology as a substitute of embracing the small farmers and regenerative practices which have true potential to feed the world and heal the planet. As for Gates’ rising monopoly on farmland, it’s price noting that while you personal the land, you additionally personal the water that’s beneath it.
For those that management sources like meals and water, energy is limitless, and together with his huge quantities of land, he can develop all of the GE soy essential to create the pretend meat he’s so closely pushing — or maybe it’s even worse than that. As famous by The Defender about a number of of Gates’ extra questionable endeavors:23
“Thomas Jefferson believed that the success of America’s exemplary battle to supplant the yoke of European feudalism with a noble experiment in self-governance trusted the perpetual management of the nation’s land base by tens of 1000’s of unbiased farmers, every with a stake in our democracy.
So at greatest, Gates’ marketing campaign to scarf up America’s agricultural actual property is a sign that feudalism could once more be in vogue. At worst, his shopping for spree is a harbinger of one thing way more alarming — the management of international meals provides by a power-hungry megalomaniac with a Napoleon complicated.”