Who funds the grassroots anti-GMO movement?

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There is a lot of misinformation about GMOs online. But why is that? Where is this info coming from?

Well, the answer is quite clear once you do a little digging, and there is a lot of money to be made off of consumer fear. Sometimes when I defend GMOs online, people accuse me of being paid by Monsanto. Well, I’m a farmer. They don’t pay us, we pay them. And that argument is silly because we have hundreds of seed companies to choose from, and they’re not even the biggest. To think that they are the only company that cares about profits is just plain naive. The more than $39 billion organic industry cares about profits! Food companies care about profits! And frankly, they’ll do whatever it takes to make a buck.

The organic industry has made it very clear that they want GMOs labelled. By creating a label, this will stir up doubt and fear, which will ultimately push GMOs out of the food supply, thus boosting profits for organic companies. But everything we eat has been modified by humans. Why transgenesis in GMO but not mutagenesis in organic? Plant breeding is a process, not a product.

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The people in this image are paid millions of dollars by organic and natural companies. “March against Monsanto” works hand-in-glove with the Organic Consumers Association, a vaccine denying anti-GMO activist group and one of the leading funders of anti-GMO activist groups. If March Against Monsanto is just a simple grassroots organization, how can they afford expensive billboards in New York City? Moms Across America has “go organic” billboards all across the country. How can they afford this? These people have an agenda, and the organic food industry actually spends $2.5 billion annually through 330 different organizations leading with fear to sell their products. Fear sells and marketers know it.

I highly recommend reading this in-depth Organic Marketing Report. This shows the money trail; it’s a real eye opener and discusses how the organic food industry purposely targets new parents and other groups to push their products. They lead with false information that organic means pesticide-free, when in fact … it does not. Organic agriculture certainly uses pesticides, many of which are more toxic than their non-organic counterparts and/or are applied at a higher dose. This shouldn’t scare anyone in general though, because the dose makes the poison. Pesticide residues are so minimal, you would need to eat about 800 servings in a single sitting to affect humans. Wash your produce and eat more fruits and veggies, no matter how they’re grown.

Have you heard of the “dirty dozen?” Yeah, the list that claims you should avoid certain foods due to pesticide residues? This list is put out by the Environmental Working Group, and guess who does their funding? Whole Foods, Applegate Organic, Earthbound Farm, Lundburg, and Stonyfield Organic. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. They also fail to mention that organic uses pesticides. Hmm…

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The Organic Industry has also been an intricate part of online “documentaries.” Remember “Food, Inc?” Painting the picture of how beautiful Stonyfield Organic is as a company? Yeah, that wasn’t by coincidence — they did the funding. The CEO of Stonyfield is Gary Hirshberg who is also the founder of “Just Label it.” With help from friends Vani Hari, John Roulac of Nutiva and GMO Inside, the Organic Consumers Association, the Non-GMO Project, GMO Free USA, Ecowatch, Jeffrey Smith, Mike Adams from “natural news,” (the list goes on) they have played an important role in making money off of the anti-Monsanto, anti-GMO movement. It’s lucrative, as they paint scary images of syringes dancing inside tomatoes (there’s no such thing as a commercially available GMO tomato), frankenfood fearmongering, and scary masks with guys in hazmat suits. Conspiracy theories are exciting, science is boring. The narrator of one of Smith’s films is Dr. Oz’s wife, who is good friends with the natural health alternative (aka “quack”) companies that do their funding. Dr. Mercola is a good example as well. Everything is trying to kill you, unless they are selling it, of course. The activist web is thick, the intertwining of the agenda is real, the pockets run deep.

To be clear, this is not meant to be a rip on organic farmers. All farmers are important. Big, small, organic or not. This has to do with the money trail and political agendas of huge corporations such as Whole Foods, Organic Valley, Nutiva, Stonyfield Organic, etc. Tell people GMOs are bad, and rake in the money. There is zero peer-reviewed evidence that GMOs pose alarm in humans, but this doesn’t stop them from running smear campaigns against conventional agriculture. They have also donated large amounts of money to political agendas to label GMOs. The Organic Consumers Association even threw thousands of dollars on the senate floor during the “label GMOs” bill, while Whole Foods executives claim non-GMO and organic food is the largest growing sector of food labelling. They’re probably right. When you spend billions of dollars telling consumers GMOs are bad, you’re bound to sway public opinion.

The thing that bothers me about this the most is that non-GMO crops mean more pesticides and natural resources than their GMO counterparts, but this doesn’t stop them from continuing down their echo chamber of lies. Over 90 percent of certain crop farmers in the U.S. grow GMOs because of the substantial benefits to the environment. This is why it’s so sad. They claim GMOs are drenched in pesticides, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Non-GMO actually uses more chemicals, but nothing is “drenched.” Silly.

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So why do food companies want more organic and non-GMO options? Think about it for a minute. Farmers make up less than 2 percent of the population of North America, and about 2 percent of them are organic. This means food companies must source their organic food on a large scale from places like China or other third world countries. Just like every other industry, “made in China” saves industries huge amounts of money. Then they charge more money to it based on marketing, and rake in the cash. I’m not talking about beautiful, small scale organic farms with Farmer Tom at the local farmers market here. (These are great.) I’m talking about large-scale corporate greed.

Almost all of the people mentioned here have one thing in common: most of them have never farmed an acre of cropland a day in their lives. So why are we listening to these people instead of real large-scale farmers, agronomists, scientists? It makes no sense, and this is why people have to use critical thinking and common sense as to where they get their information. When desiring the real truth about farming, let’s discuss this with real farmers and not big city corporate executives or people with a computer science degree and a marketing scheme.

This column was originally posted on AGDAILY.com as Farm Babe: The fat lies and fatter wallets of anti-GMO lobbyistsAGDAILY can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

Michelle Miller, Farm Babe (@thefarmbabe), raises sheep and beef cattle and farms with her boyfriend in Iowa. She believes it is important to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, and does freelance writing and public speaking. View her blog on Facebook.

  • Klaus Ammann

    Excellent documentation, here another good link to NGO financing in Europe:
    Bouillon Hardy (201405) EU: NGO-Förderung geht am Bürger vorbei. EU NGO Promotion not in the Interest of Citizens, translation Klaus Ammann NOVO-Argumente NOVO Argumente Frankfurt pp http://www.novo-argumente.com/magazin.php/novo_notizen/artikel/0001591 AND http://www.ask-force.org/web/Fundamentalists/Bouillon-EU-NGO-Foerderung-am-Buerger-vorbei-201405.pdf AND English translation Klaus Ammann http://www.ask-force.org/web/NGOs/Bouillon-EU-Promotion-not-interested-in-Citizens-en-20140530.pdf

  • Sleepy

    How about this: Why doesn’t the GMO industry get behind labelling and use it as an opportunity to educate the consumer?

    I am pro science and pro gmo and as I see it the gmo industry has 2 choices. Try and hide from the public and give the anti science movement something to point at, OR get out in front of the story and actually SUPPORT labelling. That’s right, SUPPORT it and let people know why it is better for our health and the health of the planet!

    • gmoeater

      It ‘s done. Obama signed a labeling bill.

    • gskibum

      I would normally agree. However there has been, and continues to be, an effective & lucrative misinformation campaign against genetic engineering.

      The players in the anti-genetic engineering camp do not care about evidence or reason. Nothing will ever satisfy them unless they can dominate the market with their pseudoscientific alternative.

      What needs to be done is to expose them for the fraudsters they are.

      Also, genetics is a subject very few grasp, understandably. Education is definitely key, but until there has been effective education, labeling serves to continue to undermine the cause of spreading the truth.

      The new law may provide an advantage to the side of science & reason as the scary “scull & crossbones” style of label they desired did not happen.

      • AutismDadd

        Name these people

        • gskibum

          Maybe you should read the article above…

          Plus this one here:
          http://www.agdaily.com/features/farm-babe-fat-lies-fatter-wallets-anti-gmo-lobbyists/

          • AutismDadd

            Is that where you get your science and opinions? No wonder you sound like you fell off a turnip truck, you shillbillie

          • JP

            You’re trying way too hard, dude. You don’t have to make your paranoia and intellectualy dishonesty that obvious.

          • AutismDadd

            Everyone else is doing it why not me?

          • agscienceliterate

            Oh, you do it very well indeed already.

          • Twan

            With your diagnosis of being paranoid and the world around you being paranoid a science blog must be a terrible provocation for you. Would you not be far better of on some psychology blog?

          • AutismDadd

            Nope, I’m fine. And you?

          • Twan

            Can’t complain, thanks for asking.

          • AutismDadd

            You’re on a forum that’s about complaining.

          • agscienceliterate

            “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
            –Thomas Paine

          • AutismDadd

            Nice post. Does it mean something or is it a brain fart? Do I smell methane?

        • agscienceliterate
        • Damo

          Maybe you should stick to being ignorant about one subject that you are good at being ignorant about–vaccines.

          • AutismDadd

            No names will be given…gotcha

          • Damo

            Or you could just read the article attached to this comment section?

          • AutismDadd

            Did…garbage

          • JP

            So, in other words, you read it, and it didn’t feed your paranoia, so it must be “garbage?”

          • AutismDadd

            Nope, read and it IS garbage

          • JP

            Would you like to expound on how exactly it’s “garbage?” I mean, besides that it doesn’t match your preconceived notions?

          • AutismDadd

            Its blah blah, not direct evidence.

          • agscienceliterate

            That’s what we thought. Thanks for affirming that.
            Paranoid speculation is worthless.
            Let us know when you are interested in evidenced-based information.

          • AutismDadd

            You mean tainted and manipulated evidence

          • JP

            And by “tainted and manipulated” you of course mean “anything that doesn’t fit my pathetic, paranoid worldview.”

          • AutismDadd

            Yes your pathetic paranoid worldview.

          • JP

            Oh, boy, the “I know you are but what am I?” argument. You’re at maybe 3rd grade reasoning level at this point now, congrats.

          • AutismDadd

            As if your original jab wasn’t schoolyard theatrics

          • JP

            It wasn’t, thanks for agreeing.

          • AutismDadd

            Hey Mr Juvenile

          • agscienceliterate

            No, I meant what I said. Evidence-based criteria.
            You are the one who considers it tainted and manipulated, because of both your unwillingness and your inability to discern good science from activist woo.

          • AutismDadd

            Snicker. Yea woo…you must have an advanced degree in Buh Wah Ha Ha

          • agscienceliterate

            That’s pretty much what you offer here in every one of your posts, as a matter of fact.

          • AutismDadd

            So you offer blah blah in reply

    • agscienceliterate

      Done already. The President signed a labeling bill a few months ago. Catch up.

    • Damo

      I do agree that the industry as a whole needs better PR. Perhaps commercials that explain the toxicity of today’s pesticides versus the older stuff. Or a straight forward explanation about all the damage tilling does and how biotech allows farmers–for the first time in history–to skip it.

      But, until then, I just hope people will be critical thinkers and make the right decision.

  • cycleb

    Who funds the GLP?

    • agscienceliterate

      There is a link on the front page of the GLP, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with description of its purpose and members.

      Since you didn’t even have enough curiosity to click on the “about” button, I will provide you that link here. I am a small individual donor to GLP, and am happy to help fund its science-based information site.
      https://geneticliteracyproject.org/mission-financials-governorship/

      Who funded you to post that question?

      • cycleb

        Why would you think that? Pretty paranoid .

        • agscienceliterate

          Because you lack the intellectual curiosity to look up funding of the GLP yourself, and you throw out a conspiracy-oriented “who funds them?” question. Who do YOU think funds them?
          Who funds you to ask conspiracy-oriented questions? Food Babe?

    • The GLP’s funding is listed in the About section of the website, under: Mission, Financial Transparency, Governorship: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/mission-financials-governorship/

    • gskibum

      Who funds Moms Across America, March Against Monsanto, and so many other promoters of fear-based, pseudoscientific misinformation?

      Have you ever even thought to ask that question?

  • Mary Barron

    who is behind this website? you seem illogical to me.