Date: 7/26/2011

Tonight we’ll be talking with Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of American farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming our food and agriculture. I’m Stephen Tchudi
We’ve talked with Dave Murphy in the past, once about the Food Safety Act and another time about the bee collapse. Food Democracy Now! is in the forefront of nonprofits keeping a close eye on the safety and healthfulness of our food.
When we talk with Dave Murphy tonight we want to hear about the efforts to try to break the strangle-hold big ag has on our food system—with Monstanto being the most oppressive and aggressive in the business.

In the past we’ve talked about Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered sugar beets being planted in Willamette Valley in Oregon. We talked both with one of the affected organic farmers—Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed—and with Earthjustice lawyer—Paul Achitoff–who made the organic farmers’ case in court. While the judge agreed that the organic farmers’ crops were being threatened by GE seed, Monsanto planters were able to get around the ruling and continue the planting.

Listen to the Program

Our Discussion with Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy  is the founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots movement of more than 250,000 American farmers and citizens dedicated to reforming our food and agriculture. We had Dave on the show last September to talk about the Food Safety Bill and in January to talk about Bee Collapse. Tonight we’ll talk a bit about the campaign of Food Democracy Now! to investigate the abuses of Monsanto and other campaigns the group is focusing on.

1. First of all can you tell us just a little about the history and goals of Food Democracy Now!? (How old is it? How did it began? What sere some of the early successful campaigns, etc.?)

2. Describe the recent campaign to rein in Monsanto. What motivated it? What are your goals?

3. What do you see as the most egregious policies of Monsanto? Are there other players that you see as equally threatening?

4. How did American agriculture come to be dominated by agri-business?

5. Your campaign against Monsanto seems to proceed along several lines–through the justice system, the legislature, and the president and his administration. Can you talk a little bit about your strategies for taking on issues? What have you found successful as a line of attack? (What do you think of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack? What’s up with President Obama?)

6. What do you anticipate as an outcome of efforts to diminish the power of big ag?

7. Food Democracy Now! has grown significantly. Do you know who your supporters are and why they have joined your cause?

8. Another issue that involves Monsanto is the use of GMOs. Can you tell us what action Food Democracy Now! has taken on this issue? What are the big concerns about GMOS? Where do things stand in our protection against GMOs?

9. Food Democracy Now! has a number of campaigns underway. One that I wanted to ask you about is the proposed USDA fair market contract rules that govern packer and slaughter house operations. Can you explain what this is and why it’s significant? (set of proposed fair market contract rules under Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) that would make it illegal for packers and slaughter houses to unfairly discriminate against poultry, hog and cattle farmers to protect family farmers)

10. What are some other campaigns Food Democracy Now! has in the works? (One that’s important here in California is Methyl Iodide.)

11.We’re curious about your level of optimism/hope. We talk to a lot of people on this program who are involved in daily work of environmental protection, food protection, climate change issues, protection of water and air and land. Often this work seems frustrating. What do you see in the future? What change for the better do you see? How do you stay positive?

12. Finally, can you tell our listeners how they can get involved? What should they be doing? How can they contact Food Democracy Now!? How can they help?


1. Farm 2:57 Imagination Movers Juice Box Heroes Children’s Music 4 9/27/10 3:41 PM

2. Health and Strength 4:28 Pressure Riddim Ruller: Drop It Riddim International 2 4/25/10 9:59 PM

3. Monsanto (Go Away!) 6:17 Human Naked Pop

4. Real Food 2:58 Jerry Engler Very Jerry Country

5. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) 3:08 Simon & Garfunkel Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits Pop 26 2/15/11 1:16 PM

6. The Health And Welfare 8:58 Urlaub In Polen Health And Welfare Alternative Rock

Ecotopia # 148: Food Democracy Now!