7 Ways to Fight Back Against Monsanto and Other Corporate Bullies of the GMA

Anti-GMO rally. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / J. Bicking

NOTE: Our friend and fellow writer, Benjamin David Steele, has been writing about the terrorists we know as Monsanto and how they are negatively impacting out lives, food and health. In response, we wanted to support Benjamin in his goal to better inform the masses by giving you ways to fight against Monsanto and have your voice and opinion heard.

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It’s time for consumers in every state to band together to defeat the GMA’s full-on assault not only on consumers’ right to know what’s in our food, but on states’ rights and on our basic freedoms to protect our health and our communities.

Here’s how we do it. We boycott every product, including the natural and organic brands, owned by members of the GMA. We flood their Facebook pages, tarnish their brand names. We pressure financial institutions, pension funds and mutual funds to divest from Monsanto and the other GMA companies.

Our motto for Monsanto and GMA products must become: Don’t buy them. Don’t sell them. Don’t grow them. And don’t let your financial institution, university, church, labor union or pension fund invest in them.

As soon as the GMA files a lawsuit against Vermont, the Organic Consumers Association, joined by a growing coalition of public interest groups, will launch a boycott and divestment campaign directed against all of the 300 GMA companies and their thousands of brand name products—including foods, beverages, seeds, home and garden supplies, pet food, herbicides and pesticides.

A new balance of power

Monsanto and the GMA have, until now, successfully blockedpopular GMO labeling legislation in more than 30 states. They’ve defeated, by a razor-thin margin, two high-profile ballot initiatives, in California (2012) and Washington (2013). And they’ve intimidated Connecticut and Maine into including trigger clauses in those states’ GMO labeling laws, successfully delaying their implementation.

Funding for this anti-consumer, anti-right-to-know lobbying and advertising effort topped $100 million in 2012-2014, including $12 million in illegally laundered donations to I-522, the Washington State GMO labeling ballot initiative of 2013. All of that money has come from the 300 chemical, seed, supermarket, grain, pharmaceutical and food corporations, including Monsanto and the other Gene Giants, who make up the GMA.

Until now the GMA colossus has ruled, not only in Washington D.C., but in all 50 states. But now that Vermont has passed a trigger-free GMO labeling law, and Oregon is poised to do the same in November, the balance of power has shifted.

Monsanto, the GMA and their allies are in panic mode. Because they know that when companies are forced to label or remove GMOs, and also are forced to drop the fraudulent practice of labeling GE-tainted foods as “natural” or “all natural,” in one state, they will have to do it in every state. Just as they’ve been forced to do in Europe, where mandatory GMO labeling has been in effect since 1997.

GMA members and corporate agribusiness hate labeling, because it forces them to reveal all of the hazardous GMOs, chemicals and drug residues lurking in the billions of dollars of foods, beverages, seeds, grains and pesticides they sell. It’s no wonder that Monsanto and GMA’s bill in Congress—a bill they’ve named the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014”—has been renamed the “DARK” (Denying Americans the right to know) Act.

Let the boycott begin

We absolutely must defeat the impending GMA lawsuit against Vermont. This will require us to raise money and provide legal help to the state.

Equally important, we need to intensify our mass education, grassroots lobbying and marketplace pressure so we can defeat Monsanto and the GMA Big Food/Chemical lobby in the court of public opinion, too. If you would like to donate to this effort click here.

But there are other ways we can use our dollars to defeat the GMA. We can refuse to invest, even indirectly through retirement and mutual funds, in those companies. We can pressure institutional investors like Fidelity, Vanguard and State Street to dump their stock in these companies.

And we can boycott all of the 300 GMA companies and their more than 6,000 brand name products—including foods, beverages, seeds, home and garden supplies, pet food, herbicides and pesticides. 

Where to start? As part of this Great Boycott, pro-organic consumer groups will put a special emphasis on boycotting the “Traitor Brands,” those organic and so-called “natural” brands owned and marketed by GMA members.

Health-conscious and green-minded consumers often inadvertently support the GMA when they buy brands like Honest Tea, Kashi, Odwalla and others whose parent companies, all members of the GMA, have donated millions to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California (Prop 37) and Washington State (I-522).

(Take the boycott pledge here.)

These Traitor Brands include, among others:

PepsiCo ($4.8M) – IZZE, Naked Juice, Simply Frito-Lay, Starbucks Frappucino

Coca-Cola ($3.2M) – Honest Tea, Odwalla

Nestle ($3M) – Gerber Organic, Sweet Leaf tea

Kraft/Mondelez ($2.4M) – Boca Burgers, Green and Black’s

General Mills ($2.1M) – Cascadian Farm, Larabar, Muir Glen

ConAgra Foods ($2M) – Alexia, Pam organic cooking sprays

Kelloggs ($1.1M) – Bear Naked, Gardenburger, Kashi, Morningstar Farms

Campbells ($980k) – Plum Organics, Wolfgang Puck organic soups

Smuckers ($900k) – R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz organic, Smuckers Organic

Hershey’s ($880k) – Dagoba

Bimbo Bakeries ($560k) – Earthgrains bread

McCormick ($400k) – Simply Asia, Thai Kitchen

Why not just boycott the conventional GMA parent company brands?

Because those of us who support organics rarely buy products like Coca-Cola, Diet Pepsi or Kellogg’s Genetically-Modified-Sugar-Coated Frosted Flakes, or a packet of Monsanto seeds or a spray bottle of Roundup or 2, 4-D. The only way to pressure Big Food and the Gene Giants is to get millions of conscious consumers to boycott the brands we actually buy.

Let’s be clear. Junk food and beverage companies who are members of the GMA are gobbling up organic and “natural” brands because they recognize the huge profit potential in the fast-growing organic and natural markets. They want our business. If we stop buying their brands, they know there’s a good chance we’ll find alternative brands. And we might never look back.

Seven ways to fight back

There are about 50 popular organic and natural “Traitor Brands” (owned by GMA members). It’s easy for most of us to boycott those brands. But how do we boycott the entire 6,000-product inventory of GMA member-owned brands, especially those of us who don’t shop for those brands in supermarkets?

Here are seven ways to fight back against Monsanto and all the Corporate Bullies of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

1. Stop buying all non-organic processed foods.

Even if they are certified organic, don’t buy any Traitor Brand processed foods or beverages. Ninety percent of the foods Americans buy or consume are heavily processed, deliberately laced with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, contaminated with dyes, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs and drug residues. If you want to be healthy, if you want to avoid cancer, heart attacks or obesity, build your diet around whole foods, especially raw fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (coconut oil, avocadoes, pastured meat, dairy and eggs, nuts and whole grains) and nuts.

2. Patronize grocers, co-ops and community restaurants that serve organic, cooked-from-scratch, local food.

Many restaurants, especially chain restaurants (Chipotlé is a rare exception), sell many of the brands owned by GMA members.

3. Cook at home with healthy organic ingredients.

4. Buy only heirloom, open-pollinated, and/or organic seeds.

5. Boycott all lawn and garden inputs (chemicals, fertilizers, etc.) unless they are “OMRI Approved,” which means they are allowed in organic production.

6. Read the labels on everything you buy. If a GMA member company owns the product, don’t buy it.

Given the greed and reckless disregard for public health and the environment typical of GMA corporations, chances are these products aren’t good for you and the environment anyway.

7. Download the Buycott app for your smartphone and join OCA’s new campaign, “Buy Organic Brands that Support Your Right to Know” so you can scan products before you buy them.

In this age of the Internet and social media, consumer boycotts, divestment campaigns and other forms of marketplace pressure are more powerful than ever. Please join and support the Organic Consumers Association’s “Great Boycott” of Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association today. Let’s show Monsanto and the GMA we mean business.

Check out Benjamin David Steele’s latest post:
Corporate Control, from the EU to the US


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5 thoughts on “7 Ways to Fight Back Against Monsanto and Other Corporate Bullies of the GMA

  1. It’s important to bring attention to this topic.

    There is an advantage to the diet I’m on, as are many others. I emphasize whole, natural foods (i.e., not processed and pre-prepared) that are when possible locally raised, pasture-fed, and organic. That pretty much eliminates all problematic companies to be boycotted. I rarely buy food with labels and so don’t need to read them. I also avoid shopping at Amazon and Walmart. Even my books I’ve been buying at a local independent store. It sometimes cost slightly more, but not always. Amazon can be more expensive than other places, as you’re paying for convenience. Also, I often get vegetables cheaper at the farmers’ market than at the grocery store.

    It’s not hard to do once you get in the habit. There are plenty of alternative sources of food and other products, often at reasonable prices. Anyway, most people spend more money on eating out and entertainment than they’d ever spend on quality food. People just need to learn to think differently about where their money is going.

    I’m skeptical (but not cynical) that we’ll change the world by voting with our dollars. The super rich will always be able to outspend us, at least within a plutocracy of such immense inequality. But if enough people applied moral principles to their economic decisions by refusing to participate in the big biz economy, it would send a clear message that could not be ignored. It would also allow us to develop alternative markets that could effectively compete and that would also mean alternative places of employment. It would at least be a move in the right direction and would demonstrate what is possible, even if only symbolic in the short term.

    The biggest stumbling block right now is ideological realism, specifically capitalist realism. Most people can’t fully imagine anything else. But a boycott is a step toward radical imagination in envisioning new possibilities. It does matter how we spend our money. But it requires us to play a long strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is an importance on what is prioritized. Boycotts can be useful. That is a negative action, a refusal. But that is preliminary to what one should do instead, how one should otherwise spend their money and who should be supported. This can be quite concrete and practical. There is shopping locally, as I brought up.

      I go to the farmers’ market and get to know the people who run these local businesses. I sometimes shop at a small corner grocery store that is owned by a family that has been in the area since the 1800s, and they are also my landlords. When I shop at a larger grocery store, I usually go to another locally owned operation. And there is the bookstore that I’ve also been visiting for decades with many of the same people working there.

      But it goes beyond that. An example is East Wind Community. They are a company that sells their product nationally and probably internationally as well. What makes them different is that their business is communally owned and operated. When you buy from them, you are supporting and promoting an alternative economic model. Mondragon Corporation, another similar business, definitely operates internationally. There are hundreds of thousands of co-ops and collective buisinesses around the world.

      My sense is that someone is more likely to change their economic habits when they have an alternative to choose from. Simply not doing something as in a boycott usually can only motivate people for short periods of time. To commit to a greater vision is much more inspiring. Still, before you can choose an alternative, you have to stop doing what you were doing before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had heard about it. But I wasn’t following the case. It’s nice to see that sometimes there is justice.

        We know people are being poisoned by these farm chemicals. Just as we knew earlier last century that tobacco caused cancer, despite tobacco companies denying it. And just as we’ve known for a long time that there is human-caused climate change, as oil companies knew from their own research many decades ago.

        These forms of damage are often open secrets and it’s great when this gets acknowledged, even if only a small case like this. Now if we could only tackle the 40% of deaths attributed to pollution, mostly coming from industry.

        Liked by 1 person

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