ACTION ALERT: Stop the Corporate Takeover of Organics

February 25th, 2014

After years of pillaging the conventional dairy industry, Dean Foods recently spun-off their branded products division (WhiteWave), including the Horizon and Silk labels.  The company has cheapened organics and its brands.

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Now, at the nation’s largest organic farming conference, the company will again have a prominent role.  This Saturday, at the MOSES Conference, WhiteWave’s corporate representative will seek to teach farmers how to communicate with organic consumers and understand “consumer demographics, behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets.”

How will this WhiteWave executive help us better understand today’s organic consumer?  Will she encourage us to cheapen production costs by sourcing feed and ingredients from China or factory farms?  Will she instruct us on how to break contracts with family farmers? Or market new non-organic products with the same name and nearly identical packaging that’s already familiar to organic consumers?

Enough is enough!  Sign the petition asking the MOSES board of directors to cancel WhiteWave’s workshop.  Please tell MOSES’s leadership that we love this conference but it should not be for sale to the highest corporate contributor.

For too long Dean Foods/WhiteWave has purchased influence with many nonprofits running farming conferences across the U.S. and in the organic community.  It’s estimated that over the last 10 years, they have been the largest corporate contributor to organic nonprofits.  They buy influence in the organic community and access to farmers the same way their lobbyists buy influence in Washington with large campaign contributions

Help protect the reputation of the nation’s largest organic farming conference.  Please ask the MOSES board to cancel this inappropriate workshop or substitute marketing expertise from companies that truly believe in the values that have helped build the organic business industry.

To the MOSES Board of Directors,

I believe that the organic industry is about more than just increasing sales. Ethical farmers need ethical marketing partners in order to bring wholesome food to the tables of conscious eaters around the country.

In the case of Dean Foods and WhiteWave (Silk and Horizon), the corporations have premeditatively chosen to conduct their business like other large corporate agribusinesses. These multibillion-dollar enterprises, and their executives, seem more interested in maximizing profit and “selling the sizzle not the steak,” rather than upholding the ethical precepts the organic community was founded upon.

As an organic stakeholder I respectfully request that you cancel the workshop or substitute a more appropriate presenter on organic marketing at your 2014 organic farming conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Money buys access in Washington. And it’s obvious that one of the reasons some powerful corporations contribute handsomely to nonprofits in the organic sector, and sponsor conferences, is that it buys them goodwill and ready access to farmers.

Please protect the reputation and integrity of your very important conference by recognizing the discomfort that many of us have with the business practices of this particular company, and the potential that their money has to corrupt in the nonprofit sector.

Sincerely yours:

(Signatories will be listed)

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