Imagine that most of your access to food was controlled by about five corporations. Imagine that the biggest of those was a privately held company that has been utterly unaccountable, responsible for massive human rights abuses, rainforest destruction and climate change. Now imagine that all the top executives were your neighbors, your friends parents or alumni of your college. What would you do?
This is what we asked Cargill’s neighbors in Minnesota last week. Cargill is enormous. They are larger than 2/3 of the world’s economies and twice as large as their competitor ADM. They are privately held, mostly by the Macmillan Family (who mostly live around Wayzata and Minneapolis) and are among the worst of the worst in terms of rainforest destruction for palm oil and soy.
Jen Krill and I gave three different presentations, each culminating in a fiesty brainstorm of potential actions that people near Cargill’s world headquarters can take. Ideas ranged from getting articles in the local paper to performing on a float in the local Wayzata annual parade. One particularly motivating comment came from a disgruntled ex-Cargill employee who came to one of the presentations. He said that we were on the right track with past actions, and that with more pressure they definitely would change their ways.
Don’t live in Minnesota? No worries, there will be plenty of opportunities for activists around the world to impact Cargill. Some ideas include things like talking with Cargill employees as they travel, sending flowers to their headquarters with notes asking them to sign a tropical forest policy, or putting heat on the companies that purchase palm oil from them who have products in your local supermarkets. With your help we’ll be fleshing out the details of our strategy in the coming months.
To get involved send the CEOs of Cargill and ADM a message to stop destroying peatlands in Indonesia and sign up for the Agribusiness rapid responder list for Cargill action updates.