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 The Straus Alert . No More Preaching to the Choir 
November 2002 
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Dear Michael,

in this issue
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  • The Organic PR Wars
  • Big Biz Defeats Oregon Labeling Initiative
  • Don't Just Stand There!!
  • Support your Local Farmer

  • Big Biz Defeats Oregon Labeling Initiative
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    We need only look at this week's election to see the PR wars in action, namely the industy-backed defeat of Oregon's Prop 27 - which had called for mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods.

    According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (9/19/02), Monsanto set their anti-Prop27 fundraising target at $6 million. In the end, they raised $5.5 million - to do battle with a consumer-led campaign that raised a total of ... wait for it ... about $10,000.

    Spearheading the industry-led effort? "The Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law," a front group with funding from companies including Monsanto, DuPont, PepsiCo, General Mills and ConAgra Foods.

    Read the USA Today (10/9/02) story

    Don't Just Stand There!!
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    Call me crazy, but I've still got this sneaking suspicion that DuPont and Monsanto may not have our best interests at heart.

    So, in addition to our client work, we're also creating a number of programs to foster greater dialog and education about food, farming and environmental issues.

    In the coming months, keep an ear open for the rebirth of our Beyond Organic Show. Watch the papers for syndicated columns about organic food and gardening. And, if you're a journalist, give us a call to discuss the resources we're offering via our new media resource center.

    Read what we're up to these days (pdf file) ...

    Support your Local Farmer
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    Living in the agricultural oasis of the Central Coast, it's tempting for Santa Cruz residents to assume the broccoli, mixed greens and assortment of other vegetables and fruits on their dinner tables were plucked fresh from one of the hundreds of farms here in our fertile backyard.

    Guess again.

    According to national research, produce travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to table, with some commodities originating from as far away as Mexico, China and New Zealand.

    See what's being done about it ...

    The Organic PR Wars
    Growing up on a farm, I'm afraid that I'm not all that street-smart. So it's always a shocker when I encounter cut-throat, industry-backed PR campaigns.

    For me, what makes the ActivistCash.com and ConsumerFreedom.com sites so fascinating are their 'spin' tactics -- which are backed by half truths, nasty personal attacks, and sometimes just plain lies. It's the hypocrisy of slamming environmental organizations' funding sources, while obscuring their own. And, most of all, it's the accusations about 'dem environmentalists' and 'their slick, well-funded PR campaigns.'

    Makes for great reading. Check out their site, and the links below for analysis of ConsumerFreedom and the PR firm behind it.

    The Consumer Freedom website

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    Analysis of ConsumerFreedom.com

    ... and a little more about them ....

    Some Recent Stories about Straus Clients

    Find a Farmers' Market Near You

    Good Books to Read

    What Does Straus Do, Anyway??

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