Occupy Des Moines plans to protest at the headquarters of the World Food Prize this week. They say the organization, which recognizes efforts at reducing world hunger, is focused on corporate agriculture and profits.
Steve Bullock/The Des Moines Register/AP
Des Moines, Iowa
It's difficult to argue with the goals of the World Food Prize Foundation — to recognize people who have helped improve the quality and availability of food to reduce world hunger.
But as the Des Moines-based foundation prepares for its 2012 award ceremony, which will be attended by dignitaries including Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, dozens of protesters hope to disrupt the activities.
Members of Occupy Des Moines plan civil disobedience efforts and expect to be arrested as they obstruct participants at the World Food Prize headquarters on Wednesday and at the Iowa Capitol on Thursday before the $250,000 prize is awarded to this year's recipient.
Organizer Frank Cordaro said he expected about 30 people to turn out Wednesday, with 10 willing to be arrested. By Wednesday afternoon, police arrested five activists on trespassing charges after they tried to enter a private event.
The group opposes what it sees as a focus on corporate agriculture motivated more by profit than food safety or protection of natural resources.
"The prize is corporate agriculture's way of branding themselves in the minds of the American people as the good guys, the people who are feeding the hungry and the best last chance the human race has to meet our basic needs," said Cordaro, 61, a former Roman Catholic priest who's been jailed numerous times for acts of civil disobedience to social issues. "The truth is the prize is owned and scripted for corporate agriculture and large corporate entities who want to make a profit first and don't really care about the planet."