News

SEI in the Media: Alana Mann discusses growing food in the post-truth era – The Conversation

Alana Mann’s article for The Conversation discusses the post-truth operations of global food systems.

SEI Key Researcher, Alana Mann has written an article for The Conversation, which discusses the post-truth operations of global food systems. Alana explains that Big Agriculture is a major player in the post-truth operations of global food systems, and having ‘constructed food scarcity as a justification for a second Green Revolution, Big Agriculture now employs its unethical marketing tactics to selling farmers “climate-smart” agriculture in the form of soils, seeds, and chemicals.’

alana234

Below are the key topics discussed in Alana’s article.

The myth of scarcity

Alana discusses the problematic discourse of ‘scarcity’ and explains that ‘excess production is the problem.’ This is because the ‘food industry is a major contributor to overproduction, food insecurity and environmental degradation’ said Alana.

The corporate capture of climate change

Alana explains that Trump’s stance on climate change has created ‘a  new enemy within’ which threatens the market opportunities for major agricultural corporations. Alana states that:

‘When US President Donald Trump met his election commitments by stepping out of the Paris Agreement on June 2, 2017, he stepped on some big toes. Following Trump’s election, Monsanto and Du Pont had joined more than 360 US-based multinationals in signing a letter to Trump demanding action on climate change.’

If you tell the same story five times, it’s true

In the article, Alana highlights that global warming will result in a variety of new problems to agriculture and food production, such as pests and disease. Alana explains that this has led to ‘a new twist on the time-worn post-truth spin that pesticides are the solution to feeding a fast-growing population.’

‘In a report in March this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation publicly dismissed this claim. The report cites evidence that pesticides cause 200,000 deaths a year.’

Worldviews Collide

Concerns about the environmental effects of large-scale, industrial farming practices have resulted in the critical examination of how we produce food. Alana explains that small-scale farmers movement La Via Campesina ‘are the vanguard of resistance to Big Ag’s efforts to further intensify agricultural production at the expense of people and environments. We have a responsibility to join them in challenging the logic of an industrial food system that is about growth at all costs.’


Alana’s article is part of an ongoing series from the Post-Truth Initiative, at the University of Sydney which examines today’s post-truth problem in public discourse. For details on post-truth events, click here.

To read Alana’s article titled ‘Growing food in the post-truth era,’ click here.