On Marketplace and Monsanto

When driving home from work, I’m always happy to catch a bit of radio program Marketplace. However, I was extremely disappointed to hear that they’ve recently picked up Monsanto as a major sponsor. As the bit goes,

“Marketplace is supported by Monsanto, committed to sustainable agriculture, creating hybrid and biotech seeds designed to increase crop yields and conserve natural resources. Learn more at ProduceMoreConserveMore.com.”

I’ve been considering writing about Monsanto for a long time, and this sparked me into action. The Marketplace ad is nothing more than marketing spin, greenwashing. It’s a blatant lie that Monsanto is
committed to sustainable agriculture, unless by sustainable they mean making sure the opportunity exists for them to line their pockets for years to come. By my definition, sustainable agriculture must include some element of environmental stewardship, to which Monsanto can claim a spurious connection at best. And conserving natural resources? What a joke. Their corporation bears responsibility for dozens of contaminated Superfund sites and has done irreparable harm to the environment.

I consider Monsanto one of the more reprehensible companies out there. They are a corporate bully, have an abysmal environmental record (including Agent Orange), unscrupulous ties to government officials – including those directly responsible for approving their products, and have introduced some of the worst changes to our food supply seen in history (dangerous genetically modified food, rGBH milk, aspartame, saccharin, even the decline of bees needed for pollination).

They are tracking down, harassing and prosecuting small farmers when their “Roundup Ready” crops drift into their fields or are carried there by pollinators, even employing private investigators to spy in farm communities. They don’t let farmers save their seeds, an age-old tradition, and are now going after seed cleaners.

Their genetically engineered varieties of plants are wiping out natural species and destroying the biodiversity of our plant life. They aggressively advocate for and pursue patents that sometimes border on the ridiculous, like a breeding technique for pigs that gives them ownership of all animals born using method. They are litigious, use child labor overseas, and have had a negative contribution to overall public health with cancer causing compounds like dioxin and PCBs.

The list could go on!

I’m not the only one that noticed the new sponsorship. I recently got an action alert, asking me to “Tell American Public Media to Stop Letting Monsanto Leverage Its Reputation!”

The alert asserts that Monsanto is taking advantage of Marketplace’s reputation for journalistic integrity in order to leverage their products and build a more positive record. They also suggest Marketplace has a history of favorable treatment to Monsanto.

Even if Monsanto may be getting favorable press from Marketplace and others, I am optimistic that new documentaries such as Food, Inc. may bring needed attention to the damage this company has and continues to cause to our world. (They must be concerned about this possibility too, as Monsanto is fighting back, trying to do some proactive damage control.) Between this and other related documentaries and books, I hope it causes many more to take an active look at large corporations and their impact on our food supply and environment.

Even if you don’t click any of the other links in my post, make sure to check out