Monday, March 22, 2010

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change?

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change?

Have you seen this movie? If you haven't, and if you're interested in what you put in your body, I highly recommend it. The movie goes much further, though. Are you aware of the genetically modified seed monopolies in the U.S.? Do you know about the horrific actions of some of the largest companies in our country who promote themselves as beneficial but are doing all they can to thwart our food sustainability? Check it out - the documentary is a real eye-opener!

And what about the US Dept of Justice and USDA Workshops that are being held?

Some of us thought the DOJ and USDA were finally starting to be interested in the anti-trust lawsuits being filed against Monsanto and others. We thought there might be some positive movement toward support of independent farmers when the DOJ & USDA announced they would hold workshops this year for "A Dialogue on Competition Issues Facing Farmers in Today's Agricultural Marketplaces" but that appears to be very questionable. Let's look at the first workshop that was held in Ankeny, Iowa on March 12. There were three panels in the course of the day-long workshop. Who were the members of these panels? Let's see...

Panel 1 discussing "Competitive Dynamics of the Seed Industry":
  • Ray Gaesser - V.P of American Soybean Association, among other things. (Did you know the American Soybean Association is quoted and lauded on the Monsanto web site and that 93% of the soybeans grown in America come from Monsanto seeds?)
  • Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Emeritus Professor of Economics, Iowa State University; Member of the Iowa Bar - hmm... sounds good, huh? Getting a prestigious Iowa State Univ professor involved? From Iowa State Univ's own web site - "Monsanto Hosting Employee Fund Drive to Benefit ISU Scholarships - Monsanto and Iowa State University have partnered to establish the Monsanto Agricultural Scholars Fund..."
  • Dermot Hayes, Professor of Economics and Finance, Pioneer Chair in Agribusiness, Iowa State University (Another professor from Iowa State University where Monsanto's the good guy?)
  • Diana Moss, Vice President & Senior Fellow, American Antitrust Institute - I hope she got a fair amount of speaking time
  • Jim Tobin, Vice President, Industry Affairs, Monsanto Company - Gee, I'm SOooo surprised
Panel 2 discussing "Trends in Agriculture":
  • Brian Buhr, Professor and Head of Department, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota - U of M does varietal trials of Monsanto seed at their Agricultural Experiment Station and has published a 'paper' promoting the use of Monsanto's RoundUp Ready seeds. Looks more like a paid advertisement to me. Check it out - it even appears on Monsanto's web site at
  • Rachael Goodhue, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis - Monsanto offers a Fellowship to UC Davis Biological Science students. Monsanto actively recruits at UC Davis career fairs.
  • Mary Hendrickson, Extension Associate Professor of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri - The school's Life Sciences Center is called "Monsanto Auditorium" - need I say more?
  • John Lawrence, Professor of Economics, Iowa State University - I think we already covered this one
  • Chuck Wirtz, Independent Pork Producer, Whittemore, Iowa - I thought this fellow might be a bright spot on the panel. I was unable to find a lot of information about him but did find comments he made at a Pork Congress meeting on a page peppered with DuPont advertisements. According to LinkdIn, he's an owner in Whittemore Feeder's Supply - a company that, among other things, provides grow finishing of hogs before slaughter, one of the meat production process steps that appears to be non-existent in sustainable, humane pork production.
  • Patrick Woodall, Research Director, Food & Water Watch - OK, I think we found our one bright star on this panel. Check out the organization at
You can find the complete agenda for this workshop, along with a link to a PDF of the proceedings and comments at if you're interested in learning more about this first workshop.

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