"They've colonized us with our own product"

Estefanía Narváez, October 17, 2017
Teaser Image: #ExposeConsolidation - Stefy

I grew up with abundance all around me. Every fruit, vegetable, or legume I could ever want. Ecuador is known as a country of oil, cocoa, bananas, and coffee -- products over which land and labor have been exploited. Some call this ‘la maldicion de la abundancia’ or “the curse of abundance.”

Every time I go back home to Ecuador, my mom gets me this ground coffee from the province my grandfather is from so that I can take it back to the US as gifts. But she won’t get this kind of coffee for herself.

Instead my mom drinks Instant coffee bottled and processed by Nestle. 

Nestle has become a visible force in my country. The huge corporation recently erected a huge 16 story building at the intersection of two major highways in a really transited area in my city, Quito. 

When I go past this building driving from my mom’s apartment to my sister’s house, I see it as a symbol of modern imperialism. It means that people are working incredibly low wages to grow the raw materials, and the big corporation gets to process it and sell it to the world at a price so much more expensive than what they pay for the labor.

It breaks my heart everytime I see instant coffee in our kitchen. They’ve colonized us with our own product.

Big Food companies are able to do that because there’s so few of them that they can basically control the price, the quality, and the quantity of a product in a whole entire country. These companies get away with exploitation and with destroying local food systems abroad because of their disproportionate power. 

This is why I want to #ExposeConsolidation. Because if they are not stopped, the abundance I grew up with will be gone.