I Can't Support Monsanto

After weeks of threatening, weeks of randomly timed complaining, weeks of wondering if I'm over reacting, today I took action. And my action was anti-climatic.

I cancelled my membership at our local NPR radio station. I listen to NPR a lot. Their schedule influences my schedule. The voices on the station are as familiar as family members. When I'm sick, the radio voices calm me. When I can't sleep, they lull me. It's odd but I love these people; at least I love their voices.

Some months ago however one of the shows began including Monsanto in its list of sponsors. Immediately I wrote the program. I received a fast response. I'd identified the wrong program, it wasn't them, they wrote, and I let the issue go. I saw a petition and realized other people weren't happy about Monsanto on NPR either. I signed the petition and let my membership ride.

But the Monsanto name didn't go away. A quick mention in the sponsor list turned into a five word sentence. I don't remember what it was. I would turn off the radio and break pencil led until the ad was over.

Now the single five word sentence sounds like three sentences. Maybe more. And in one of the sentences is the word sustainability and everything is verdant green fields and today I was done. My blood didn't boil or my heart rate increase. I simply knew I no longer wanted my dollars to support programming that created a frame in which Monsanto could paint a happy face I believe is false.

I called member services; it was easy finding their number. A young woman picked up the phone and as if I were ordering birthday flowers I requested the monthly auto debits to my account be stopped. She took the information, thanked me for the long time membership. She didn't ask me to stay or attempt to sell me on staying. But I had to tell her why I was quitting being a member, "I don't want my dollars supporting programing that promotes Monsanto."

She was silent. I considered she might not know who Monsanto is. Or she thought I was over reacting or she was making dinner reservations at Open Table while I talked. I'll never know. Maybe I am crazy. My meager monthly pledge is nothing against the sponsorship of Monsanto. It still feels good to stand up for what I believe in though.

And it doesn't. I remember the first time I pledged to NPR. It was a right of passage. I became part of a community of listeners and I was proud to belong. I'm sad to give that up, to not support the voices I'm so fond of.

But I can't support Monsanto.


Kelly said...

yes. yes yes yes. just to make you feel a little better. remember that they wont even let you have one seed for a piece of research. one seed. not one seed is allowed to the non-consigned public. something to hide?

knutty knitter said...

Evil empires we can do without.

Good on ya mate :)

viv in nz

Another Outspoken Female said...

Yeah - I cheered when I read this.

(I'm in Australia and I don't support those bastards either)

The Mom said...

Good for you. I know it stinks, but we all have to make a stand somewhere. Mine was to stop using a garden supply company I had used for years.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I've been wondering why the heck these guys have been on NPR too...plus our local affiliate's CEO makes over half a million dollars a year salary. It makes me super bummed out about public radio.


ps in happier news, I started a jar of pomegranate honey last night!

Anonymous said...

You have my complete support. I have been watching my local PBS station and watching who the sponsors are. For a non-commercial station, there seem to be an awful lot of corporations telling my how wonderful they are in 15 second clips - and I know they aren't wonderful. No Monsanto yet but if they got NPR, then PBS could be next. I'm keeping watch! Good for you!

risa said...

Yes, I sadly gave up PBS when Archer Daniels Midland began trumpeting themselves loudly between all the shows ...

For news, I can peek at the Huffington Post now and then and find out all I didn't want to know about celebrity benders, without a single Monsanto or Exxon ad!

Chickens make better visual programming, and the songbirds have a better morning audio.

Sailingacal29 said...


Janet said...

Good for you!! I feel exactly the same about Monsanto. Several months ago I was updating my retirement savings fund with my financial planner. He suggested I buy a particular fund that was doing well. However when I looked closer I saw that Monsanto was one of the companies listed in the fund. Obviously I chose something else. That company is everywhere it seems! Makes me feel ill just thinking about them.

Janet said...

Good for you!! I feel exactly the same about Monsanto. Several months ago I was updating my retirement savings fund with my financial planner. He suggested I buy a particular fund that was doing well. However when I looked closer I saw that Monsanto was one of the companies listed in the fund. Obviously I chose something else. That company is everywhere it seems! Makes me feel ill just thinking about them.

Tamara said...

You Go, Green Woman!

(KPFA 94.1 is funded solely by listeners,
and Amy Goodman's (6 and 9 am M-F) show is


Lucy said...

You go, girl!

I've just cancelled my email subscription to The Splendid Table, thanks to your post.

Olive said...

Good on you !!

belinda said...

Good on you,
I would have to do the same if presented with it. I simply can't support a company that practices such blatant disregard for anything apart from profits.

I have to say though along with canceling your subscription I would also send a letter in writing to the station manager stating why. The girl on the phone doesn't have any power over advertising and in most cases neither do the shows.. the station manager though is the one that has to make the books balance and if enough people write and it lands on one desk it is more likely to get noticed.

Kind Regards

kale for sale said...

I love you people!

Kelly - Yes, that one thing makes it worth it and there is so much more. Thanks for making me feel better.

knutty knitter - My first ever, good on ya mate. Thank you!

Another Outspoken Female - LOL. I have to say it too - Those Blasted Bastards! Thank you. I needed that.

The Mom - And all our stands have got to be giant when added together. Right? Good for you too.

doughgirl - Wow. That's a lot of dough. In regards to the pomegranite honey mine seemed to ferment or something after a couple of weeks on the counter. It literally oozed out of the jar. I loved it. No cough yet to give it the soothing test but I've got a jar waiting. Hope you like it.

luccaj - Thanks for the encouragement. NPR gives these companies a validity by association that is undeserving. Keep up the watch.

risa - I'm sorry about PBS. It's not fair, damn it. But thanks for the nod to the Huffington Post. I often follow links to it but don't seek it out. Lucky you with the chicken channel and songbirds!

Sailingacal29 - You're cute.

Janet - Good for you for choosing something else. I read somewhere that we create the world around us by where we put our money. I know that but it also woke me up to the fact in a new way. Thank you for commenting.

Tamara - I know. You've been inviting me to KPFA for years. I'm finally ready to listen. Thank you for your patience.

Lucy - Too funny. Of course I had to go and look at What the Splendid Table is. It looks pretty good. Damn it.

Olive - Good on all of us. Thank you.

Belinda - You're right. Following through with a letter is a good idea. Thank you for the suggestion. I will.

Debbie said...

I'd thought the same thing but hadn't done anything about it. Thanks for inspiring me to stop indirectly supporting Monsanto through NPR. I'll go program my radio to KPFA right now...

Donna said...

Good for you! It makes me mad when I see the ads for Archer Daniels Midland on our PBS station, but since I don't support them, I guess I can't cancel my support. I hope you do write that letter. The girl you talked to probably didn't pass along your reasons to anyone.

kale for sale said...

Debbie - I'm not stopping listening to my local NPR station, I'm hooked on too many programs for that, but I am stopping my financial support of their programming. Not a perfect solution but my best for the moment. And writing a letter. And turning the dial to KPFA more and more too. Thank you for inspiring me too!

Donna - Maybe we should all write letters whether we support the stations or not and let them know their sponsorship choices suck! It couldn't hurt. Thanks for the support.

meagan said...

I'm glad that you posted this! I know I'm a little late, but the sole reason that I didn't start supporting NPR was because of the 30 second to 1 minute Monsanto spot. I live in Austin and the first time I heard it I was pretty flabbergasted, however, a year later it's still running. I won't support Monsanto either, as much as I love NPR and KUT.