I saw an advertisement last week that would make any organic farmers blood boil. In the Wall Street Journal on December 6th (Pg. A-10) there was a half page ad showing a young boy’s face, the American flag with the red and white strips flowing into rows of crops being harvested. In bold words heralded “Every Star Spangled Banner Begins With A Farmer.”
An effective marketing trifecta using images of a child, the American flag and farming to promote the website called AmericasFarmers.com. Successfully, this created a message that appeared as wholesome as grandma’s apple Pie itself. You may ask why there would be anything disturbing about this, but be assured there is more to say.
The American Farmers website is owned by Monsanto, who’s considered worldwide to be the big bad wolf to many. Yes, it is the same goliath who has and continues to place numerous lawsuits against American farmers. Yes, the same global chemical company that has become the czar of seed controlling maneuvers that have globally impacted environment and societies health. To top it off further … this historical Agent Orange creator is now trying to go back to Vietnam and spread their “Round-up Ready” seeds. I think this makes my case for why this homespun advertisement about farming is such a gross contradiction.
My story here is not only about Monsanto though, it is about all those big business Darth Vader’s who cook up good will by skulking around like mild mannered sheep. This advertisement and website provides a prime example of being nothing more than uncontrolled green washing. All proving how easy it is for big budgets to create a false sense of goodwill and effectively divert the truth from public attention.
Much less publicized is The Center for Food Safety report, which stated that to date, Monsanto has filed 90 lawsuits against American farmers in 25 states that involve 147 farmers and 39 small businesses or farm companies. Monsanto has set aside an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers.”
Or …if satire (versus dry facts) is preferred watch this recent segment of the daily Show with Jon
Stewart http://www.thedailyshow.com. This provides a deeper explanation on how Monsanto is trying to place exclusive patent rights on Mother Nature herself.
Whether it is Monsanto or another company, it is important to look beyond the marketing hype. This is especially true, if we are attempting to make good food choices. Today, marketing campaigns, which allude to receiving the benefits to health, have proven to be profitable. Whether it is pictures of happy cows to promote milk products or packages called grandmas best advertising has become a competitive jungle of displaced realities.
Buyers beware for the thousands of green imposters on store shelves or in advertising.
Reading and discerning labels is important, but making this difficult for the consumer benefits the green washer. The tiny word size of the ingredients list is a consumer’s nightmare to read and requires a scientist to understand. According to http://consumerist.com there are 30 different words used for sugar alone.
Here is another heaping serving of green washing while mentioning sugar. We all know it is hard to beat those sodas for having a huge amount of sweeteners. Recently Coca-Cola expressed their concern about children’s health and the climbing rate of diabetes; as a result they created a special campaign to fight obesity. Coke offering dietary advice, really?
Big business is leading the food conversations and we follow like a herd of sheep. The government and their FDA has their hands tightly tied by the food industry /chemical lobbyists. The bottom line is that the food industry does not want the public to be informed about food labels and the less disclosure the better for them.
The United States allows more pesticides, growth hormones and GMOs in our food than the European Union. It is time for everyone to participate in the food conversation and make decisions for what is allowed in the marketplace. By becoming aware of green washing you will see who is attempting to pull the wool over your eyes for their profit. How food dollars are chosen to be spent makes the greatest change. Cast a “fool me no more” vote every time while shopping at the grocery store.