Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Industrial Agribusiness Eats Us for Lunch

The last few months have afforded me an unprecedented amount of free time, during which I've begun to explore one of my long-standing interests, farming, and delve deeper into the politics of America's food. The stack of books on my desk grows ever higher, and I'm spending more and more time on the internet, reading other activists' blogs. For the first time in a long time, I feel truly invigorated and driven to consume (the puns are endless) as much new information as possible, but also, increasingly overwhelmed.

I've been putting off writing about it because, where do I start?

But here's an interesting tidbit that I felt needs sharing. I'm just finishing the book Recipe for America: Why Our Food System is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It by Jill Richardson (Ig Publishing, 2009). As a frequent consumer of organic foods and food products, I stopped dead in my tracks when I got to Richardson's section titled "Industrial Ag Invades Organics." I sort of knew that a lot of so-called organic foods were produced by not-so-benevolent megacorporations, but the following list really brings it home:

Organic Brands Parent Company

Boca Foods, Back to Nature ---------------------Kraft

Naked Juice -------------------------------------- Pepsi

Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen -------------------- General Mills

Horizon, Organic Cow of Vermont,
Alta Dena, White Wave/Silk ------------------- Dean

Lightlife, Alexia Foods -------------------------- Conagra

Green & Black's ---------------------------------- Cadbury Schweppes

MorningstarFarms, Natural Touch,
Kashi, Gardenburger, Bear Naked ------------- Kellogg

Odwalla ------------------------------------------- Coca-Cola

Seeds of Change ---------------------------------- M&M Mars

Dagoba -------------------------------------------- Hershey Foods

If this isn't proof that simply "buying organic" does not absolve us as consumers, then I don't know what is.

Meanwhile, one of Obama's most recent acts as president has just come to my attention: the nomination (and subsequent confirmation by the US Senate) of two "Big Ag" types to prominent positions in the USDA and Office of the US Trade Representative, respectively. Roger Beachy, of Monsanto, and Islam Siddiqui, of CropLife America, will surely only tighten the choke-hold of industrial agriculture on Federal food regulation and monitoring.

Read more about it at

1 comment:

  1. oh my goodness... I have been completely blind to the big picuture. What does M & M have to do with truly natural and organic... aak, and yet as a professional singleton I often struggle with the effort required at the end of the day.... as always a work in progress right?