In the news: Friends of the Earth will stand against Trump
Take action: Stop the Bayer and Monsanto merger!
Corporations have historically unprecedented power over our food system, enabling them to control the agricultural research agenda, subvert market competition, and heavily influence regulation, federal spending, trade and agricultural agreements.
Large food and agrichemical corporations also dominate the public conversation about food and farming. Taking their cues from the tobacco industry, they use stealth public relations tactics to preserve their markets and advance policy agendas.
Agrichemical corporations spend tens of millions of dollars a year to spread misleading messages about the safety and necessity of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and to undermine public confidence in the benefits of organic and ecological farming. These myths bolster a food system that delivers billions of dollars a year in profits to agribusinesses from fossil-fuel-intensive production and costly inputs — including pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically engineered crops.
Friends of the Earth fights to reclaim democratic control of our food system, publishes investigative reports that reveal industry’s covert communications strategies and disseminates the science that debunks Big Ag’s myths.
Stop Corporate Mega-Mergers
Over the past decades, industry consolidation has concentrated power over the food system in the hands of a few large corporations. Now, the world’s largest agrichemical and seed companies are attempting to merge into three large mega-corporations: Dow Chemical/DuPont, Monsanto/Bayer and Syngenta/ChemChina. The mergers will severely decrease competition, hurt our economy, narrow innovation and raise prices for inputs farmers need, like seeds. It is predicted that if all three deals were to close, the resulting companies would control nearly 70% of the world’s pesticide market, more than 60% of commercial seed sales and 80% of the U.S. corn-seed market.
Feeding the world
One of the most destructive myths spread by corporate public relations is that we need industrial agriculture to feed the world.
The science is clear: feeding the world sustainably requires that we rapidly transition to ecological farming methods that protect the soil, water, biodiversity and other resources that are essential for growing food now and for future generations. Decades of scientific evidence show that organic and agroecological farming yield enough to feed a growing world population. Data also show that ecological farming is the most effective agricultural response to the environmental challenges that threaten our future food security, such as climate change, soil erosion, water scarcity and loss of biodiversity.
What’s more, while many people equate “feeding the world” with the need to produce more food, research consistently shows that world hunger is not primarily a problem of overall supply of food, but rather of poverty, lack of democracy and unequal access to land, water and other resources. The solution to hunger hinges on creating a more sustainable, democratic and fair food system for all, rather than producing more food under unequal and ecologically destructive conditions.
Shut the revolving door
Friends of the Earth is calling on President-elect Trump to ensure that our democracy is governed by public servants, not corporate servants. There is a long history of individuals with ties to agribusiness, agrichemical and pharmaceutical companies being appointed to leadership positions in government agencies that regulate food and farming. These include the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency. These conflicts of interest dramatically increase the likelihood that public policy will protect corporate bottom lines at the expense of public health, rural communities, animal welfare and the environment.
Time and time again, we have seen government side with the corporate interests over public well-being — including decisions to allow routine antibiotic use in agriculture, harmful pesticides in food production and weak worker safety rules throughout the food chain. Keeping agribusiness leaders out of government agencies is key to reclaiming our democracy and protecting public health and the environment.
Reports & resources
- Over 700,000 people tell government to block seed mergers
- Big food and chemical corporations spend millions to attack organic
Articles & blogs
- Dirt, Democracy, and Organic Farming: A Recipe to Feed the World, FoodTank
- Can Organic Farming Feed the World?, Ecowatch
- Scientific American science panel may get lost in translation, Medium
- More Spin than Science: The Latest Efforts to take Down Organics, Civil Eats
- Assault on Organics: Ignoring Science to Make the Case for Chemical Farming,Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Farming for the Future busts three common myths about feeding the world that keep us on the path of business as usual and details the scientific evidence that demonstrates that creating a democratic, organic and agroecological farming system is key to feeding all people, now and into the future.
Spinning Food investigates how major food and agrichemical corporations are deliberately misleading the public on facts about industrial agriculture and organic and sustainable food production.
Buzz-Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S.
This investigation reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels. The pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees and a lot to protect industry profits.
This report uncovers the deceptive public relations tactics chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto are using to manufacture doubt about science and to fool politicians to delay action on neonicotinoid pesticides.