I saw an advertisement last week that would make any organic farmer’s blood boil. In the Dec. 6 edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was a half-page ad showing a young boy’s face and the American flag, with the red and white stripes flowing into rows of crops being harvested. Bold words heralded, “Every Star Spangled Banner Begins With A Farmer.”
It was an effective marketing trifecta using images of a child, the American flag and farming to promote the website AmericasFarmers.com. Successfully, this created a message that appeared as wholesome as grandma’s apple pie. 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, which is considered worldwide to be the big bad wolf to many. Yes, it is the same Goliath that has filed and continues to file numerous lawsuits against American farmers. Yes, it’s the same global chemical company that has become the czar of seed-controlling maneuvers that have globally impacted environmental and societal health. To top it off further, this historical Agent Orange creator is now trying to go back to Vietnam and spread its “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 Vaders that cook up good will by skulking around like mild-mannered sheep. This advertisement and website provide a prime example of being nothing more than uncontrolled greenwashing, all proving how easy it is for big budgets to create a false sense of good will and effectively divert the public’s attention from the truth.
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 and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers.