On Lake Minnetonka today, just down the road from Cargill’s world headquarters, the rainforest agribusiness campaign set sail amongst the hundred or so sailboats participating in a regatta in Wayzata Harbor. We turned an M-20 sailboat into a floating banner in order to send Cargill a clear message in their own backyard. The main sail read, “Cargill: Biofueling Climate Change.” A green canoe paddled alongside the sailboat with a massive helium balloon attached to it that read, “Cargill: Foe to the Family Farmer.”
We know that many Cargill executives, as well as Cargill family members (Cargill is privately held and 90% family owned) live, work, and play on Lake Minnetonka. Yet, many in the surrounding community (an insular, wealthy town of approximately 4,000 people) seem to be unaware of the fact that Cargill’s operations are contributing to rainforest destruction, the often-violent displacement of small farmers and Indigenous communities and climate change.
Cargill’s insatiable appetite for converting ever-more land across the globe into green deserts of soy and palm oil makes them a primary culprit in exacerbating our climate crisis. Cargill is a top investor, trader and transporter of soy and palm oil. Cargill is the fourth-largest exporter of palm oil from Malaysia and holds 14,000 acres of plantations–all on newly cleared forestland–throughout Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Cargill is also currently finishing construction on a soy processing facility and mega-port in Asuncion, Paraguay, only 500 meters upstream from the main public water utility, raising grave concerns about contamination of the entire capital city’s water supply.
Cargill corporation operates with impunity and blatant disregard for the environment and human rights. Today’s action on the lake was intended to precipitate a few ripples. These ripples are only getting bigger, as the wave of resistance grows in opposition to corporations such as Cargill who show minimal initiative or leadership in finding legitimate solutions to our climate crisis.