I had an experience on facebook a few weeks ago that makes more sense to me now. Sometime ago I had noticed that a friend “liked” something called the U.S. Farmer and Rancher Alliance. Because I enjoy news feeds from farm-friendly groups, I “liked” it too.
I don’t have time to read all the links I see on facebook, of course, but one later posted by these folks caught my attention. It was a blog post by a woman which said, among other things, that she does not buy organic food for her children, that she doesn’t believe there is any benefit to doing so and that women who insist on organic food for their children behave like members of a cult.
The post created a bit of a facebook dustup, primarily from folks like me, who didn’t appreciate the comparison of supporters of organic agriculture to a cult.
Wondering why they’d post something like that, I did a little research and learned that the “Farmer and Rancher Alliance” is actually some kind of propaganda front for ag-chemical companies. The organization takes funding from “industry partners” which include Dow, Monsanto, DuPont and the like (in fact, a mere $500,000 will land a spot on their Premier Partner Advisory Group). They use facebook (and other social media) to disparage organic agriculture, while posing as an alliance of “farmers and ranchers.”
What I’ve just learned is that this is part of a larger effort to promote industrial agriculture through social media and blogs. Recognizing that “Moms” make most of the food decisions in American families, and faced with data showing that said Moms believe organically grown food is better for their families, the industry has recruited (or created) bloggers to promote industrial processed food. Their hope is that these “Mom” bloggers will accomplish what their massive advertising budgets cannot–persuading American families to favor their products over organic food. According to one article I read, “Research shows that consumers put less trust in promotions funded by companies with a profit motive. Individuals are perceived as more genuine ag advocates.” So these companies seek to benefit from the undeserved credibility of these “Mom” bloggers.
Hopefully folks will see through this. It is hard to imagine any reasonably informed consumer taking seriously a blog post from a “Mom” who prefers to feed her family processed food and GMOs rather than whole natural foods.
One of their current efforts is to convince “Moms” that pink slime (which they call “lean, finely textured beef (LFTB)”) is a good food choice for the family. Good luck with that one.
Bottom line: just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. Until you’re satisfied with the credibility and independence of the source, don’t take anything you read on a blog about food, including this one, as necessarily accurate and reliable.