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Beware: Monsanto Hires a Millennial to Convince Other Millennials that GMOs are Okay

Beware: Monsanto Hires a Millennial to Convince Other Millennials that GMOs are Okay

UPDATED 1/4/15: This post was updated to reflect the Twitter conversation below. This past weekend, I came across something that made my skin crawl. Wanting to persuade (fool) young people that both Monsanto and GMOs are actually good for the world, the company has hired a 32-year-old Director of Millennial Engagement named Vance Crowe. Whether he is traveling […]

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(Credit: NPR / Christopher Paton)

(Credit: NPR / Christopher Paton)

UPDATED 1/4/15: This post was updated to reflect the Twitter conversation below.

This past weekend, I came across something that made my skin crawl.

Wanting to persuade (fool) young people that both Monsanto and GMOs are actually good for the world, the company has hired a 32-year-old Director of Millennial Engagement named Vance Crowe.

Whether he is traveling alongside company salesmen or attending conferences around the country, such as SXSW Eco Conference in Austin, this Directory of Millennial Engagement is actively engaging with his peers to reverse the overwhelmingly negative sentiment against Monsanto.

In a frightening interview with NPR’s The Salt, Vance Crowe shared a little bit about what he is up to and what he is telling his fellow millennials.

Let me summarize a few of the things that he said and what the truth is.

Vance Crowe: To me the science on GMOs is very clear, so why do people have trouble with this?

On one hand, the science is very clear.

In its study Failure to Yield, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that the biotech industry has been carrying out gene field trials to increase yields for 20 years, all without significant results.

This is ironic because GMOs are constantly touted as a way to increase crop yields.

Additionally, GMOs have caused a massive problem of superweeds and have resulted in a huge increase of pesticide use.

On the other hand, the science isn’t clear at all because no long-term studies have ever been conducted to test the safety of GMOs.

Vance Crowe: A lot of people believe Monsanto is in the habit of suing farmers. But it’s not true.

Actually, it is true. Since 1997, the company has filed 145 lawsuits against farmers or on average about one lawsuit every three weeks for 16 straight years.

Furthermore, Monsanto aggressively threatens to sue farmers whose farms have been contaminated by its GMOs, even when these farmers have no idea that it has happened. Because these farmers don’t have the means to fight against Monsanto in the courts, most of them end up settling.

One farmer who refused to be intimidated by Monsanto’s brutal tactics was Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser.

Vance Crowe: It’s clear consumers have some strong feelings about how food should be produced and what sustainability is. And the tenor has gotten kind of loud… doesn’t do anybody any good if people are so passionate that they’re yelling.

Maybe the reason that people are so loud and so passionate that they’re yelling is because they believe Monsanto is wreaking havoc on the world and is working hard to deny Americans their right to know what is in their food.

– Why did Haiti burn Monsanto’s seeds after the brutal earthquake in 2010?

– Why have 250,000 farmers in India committed suicide?

– Why have there been massive protests in Hawaii regarding the spraying of super-toxic pesticides being sprayed near schools and hospitals?

– Why do 64 countries around the world require GMOs to be labeled but the U.S. does not?

– Why has Monsanto been spending tens of millions of dollars to fight against GMO-labeling in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado in the past few years?

The truth is that many people, myself included, despise Monsanto and for very good reasons.

If you know anyone in the 20s or 30s, please share this post with them and make sure that they see the following movies: Food, Inc.The Future of Food, and GMO OMG.

It is critical that millennials in this country are not fooled by people such as Vance Crowe and have a clear understanding of what Monsanto is really doing to this world.


Apparently, Vance Crowe believes that Vani Hari, The Food Babe, is using fear to spread misinformation.

This is the same old tired and weak argument that critics use all of the time. But don’t let this “sound bite” fool you.

The only thing that Vani Hari is spreading is the truth, something that is very threatening to the big food and chemical companies. And the truth is the litany of despicable business practices in the food industry that she has exposed over these past few years.

Based on what Vance Crowe tweeted below, one could infer that anyone who is for GMO-labeling and promotes organic food is someone who is “selling snake oil”.

I’d love for anyone who has a shred of intellectual honesty to tell me how food that is grown without super-toxic pesticides, without risky GMOs, and without artificial colors or preservatives is even remotely related to “snake oil”.

Despite Vance Crowe’s best efforts to prove otherwise, organic is the food that America wants and it is the healthiest and safest food on the planet.

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  • Rob says:

    Whilst I don’t trust Monsanto at all, I also don’t trust people who attack GMOs on their own page that sells or promotes organic or ‘natural’ produce either. It is completely fair to say that many ‘natural’ and organic remedies for things are indeed snake oil, sold by appealing to fear and ignorance, using vague and meaningless words like ‘toxins’ to scare people. What toxins are we all supposedly poisoning ourselves with? Why are they different from the thousands of toxins produced as part of a normal human metabolism that the liver is perfectly well equipped to deal with?

    You ask for specifics from these people, you’re likely to be disappointed, because they do not have any solid evidence or knowledge to back up their notions. They just stir fear and sell their carrot juice for twice the price.

    It’s also fair to say that Monsanto is equally if not more unscrupulous in the way it seeks to make its money.

    However, there’s no conclusive evidence that GMO crops cause any harm at all to human beings. People go crazy about chemical sounding names that exist in their body quite naturally.

    For example if I told you a food manufacturer was adding in MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) to your food, implies that it’s bad (without giving any evidence) and said it’s a good reason to buy organic, many suckers fall for it.

    Well it’s a natural anti inflammatory found in a wide range of plants and soil. Organic or otherwise. But I bet you I could sell bananas at twice the price to any number of cretins by making them afraid of this ‘chemical additive.’

    I’m sorry but a lot of organic food industry is doing exactly that. Claiming our environment is ever more toxic and yet blithely ignoring the salient fact that the human race is very rapidly living longer lives and in better health as we become increasing less ‘natural.’

    Sure, a diet of fresh vegetables and meat that has been ethically reared is a good thing. But a lot of the positive claims about organic are utterly unsubstantiated, and a lot of the fear spread about GMO and pesticides is also completely without any evidence. You’ll notice the people who don’t like to admit this usually are selling something or recommending something. Go figure.

  • William says:

    What a load of bull this article is, citing lots of pseudoscience! 99% of real food and agricultural scientists (like me) agree with him and, no, they don’t get paid by Monsanto!

  • Delilah says:

    I was going to write something snarky along the lines of, “I did not know supporting a lifestyle the way it has been done for the last thousands of years is considered misinformation and selling snake oil” in response to Vance Crowe’s statement, but then I realized that we would just be attacking him like what he is doing to us. We are the better people. Our actions speak louder than our words, and by putting our hard-earned dollars towards the local economy and the organic industry, we are sending a message more powerful than an exchange on Twitter. Thank you for spreading the truth. Maybe one day, I’ll bump into you at Whole Foods 🙂

  • Sharon Buck says:

    1. Only a snake oil salesman could come up with that phrase.
    2. Doesn’t say much for that generation when they haven’t learned from our past mistakes. Thought they didn’t believe in “selling out” or being “bought”? Poor, Vance. Wonder what his salary is?
    3. He may “win” with his fancy spiel but what has been won? Destruction is not a prize to treasure.
    4. Any company that can’t be willingly interviewed or answer questions can’t be trusted.
    5. Suing farmers? Hmmm…
    6. He drank the Cool-Aid.


  • It’s all about the money. Never be fooled.

    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics touts themselves as being “The world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.”

    Yet they are sponsored by:

    Abbott Nutrition
    National Dairy Council®
    The Coca-Cola Company Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness

    Monsanto is inevitably linked to the ADA as well:

    “This year — as if to reiterate its influence over American’s dietary choices — the group announced it would soon be adding the word “nutrition” to its name (as of January 2012, the group will be called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). Meanwhile, the show floor was saturated with booths and displays from companies like Monsanto, Hershey’s, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Cargill, Yum! Brands, Nestle, ConAgra, Mars, Inc., Campbell’s, and General Mills.”

  • Rob England says:

    I agree. He is focused on persuading fool young people. The smart one already understand science.

  • Jake says:

    Max – Way to go to expose the real snake oil GMO monsters who are hoping for the general public to believe the rhetoric of a corporate shill like Vance Crow. Vani Hari is doing the work of the people. She is a true blessing for the truth, exposing corporate lies of companies that don’t give a damn about the sanctity of our food supply and our fragile planet. Please keep the pressure on Monsanto and others who are destroying our beautiful planet, endangering our health and causing untold ecological harm with unsafe, unlabeled GMO poisons.

  • Jo Cornwell says:

    This is potential for a new book and movie come to life. Reminds me of the novel by Christopher Buckley, “Thank You for Smoking.” With the hire of spin doctor, Vance Crowe, a new satirical book might be titled “Thank You for Eating GMO”. Think on it Mr. Buckley… they’re gifting you the content for free.

  • Monsanto hires dietitians to convince other dietitians to embrace GMOs as well. Best spin money can buy, right out of the tobacco playbooks. Don’t miss my Food Sleuth Radio interviews with physicians and researchers explaining harm. Check out interviews with Jeff Ritterman, M.D., Michael Hansen, Ph.D. and Raymon Seidler, former EPA Scientist.

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