Meet the Corporate Front Groups Fighting to Make Sure You Can't Know What's in Your Food
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Find our Common Ground: Advocating for moms and regular folks?
The newly launched website, Find Our Common Ground, may not fit in the heavy-hitter category, but it’s another example of a thinly veiled attempt by a group to look as if it’s working for small farmers, gardeners, and health-conscious folks. The group also has a facebook page, to help spread its folksy message.
The message? Direct from the group’s website:
Consumers aren’t getting the real story about American agriculture and all that goes into growing and raising their food. We’re a group of volunteer farm women and we plan to change that by doing something extraordinary. Our program is called CommonGround and it’s all about starting a conversation between women who grow food, and the women who buy it. It’s a conversation based on our personal experience as farmers, but also on science and research. Our first goal is to help consumers understand that their food is not grown by a factory. It’s grown by people and it’s important to us that you understand and trust the process. We hope you’ll join in the conversation.
The message maker? A quick search on Wois.com reveals that Osborn Barr Communications, a PR company with ties to - who else? - Monsanto – owns the domain name. Osborn Barr specializes in agriculture and rural communities and is used to create front groups for their clients. In 2006, Monsanto hired Osborn Barr to work on the controversial recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone issue, so Osborn Barr set up American Farmers for Advancement and Conservation of Technology (AFACT), a pro-rbGH farmer front group.
There will be no lack of creativity and certainly no lack of money spent to defeat the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. There should also be no lack of scrutiny when it comes to who is spreading the anti-GMO labeling message.
Alexis Baden-Mayer is Political Director of the Organic Consumers Association.
Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association. Cummins is author of numerous articles and books, including "Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers" (Second Revised Edition Marlowe & Company 2004).