How To Occupy Cargill

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Update: Occupy Cargill’s Phone Lines on #F27

If you can’t physically occupy a Cargill facility (see below), here is a quick and easy way to make a big difference just by picking up the phone. If you’d like to go into greater detail beyond the script, check out our new Cargill factsheet.

1) Call 1 800 CARGILL (227-4455)
2) Ask: “May I please be connected to CEO Greg Page?”
3) You will probably be forwarded to an operator or voicemail. Tell the employee that you speak with that: “As part of the global day of action to Occupy Our Food Supply, I am calling to demand that Cargill stop the corporate takeover of our food system and stop undermining local, just food solutions. If you want to be proud of your company, then Cargill needs to stop destroying ecosystems and start respecting human rights. Thank you for sharing my message with CEO Greg Page. Thank you. Goodbye.
4) Leave a comment on this blog to let us know you called!

Original Blog Post:

On February 27, 2012 thousands of organizations and individuals will come together for a decentralized global day of action called Occupy Our Food Supply. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to resist corporate control of our food supply and work to create a more just and sustainable future for the food systems we all depend on.

On #F27, there are infinite ways you can Occupy Our Food Supply. We invite you to join us in standing up to Cargill, a global agribusiness giant touching every aspect of our food from farm to fork. United, our food movements can reach the scale required to challenge Cargill’s corporate food regime that has prioritized profit over health and sustainability for decades. Here’s how to Occupy Cargill:

1  Find a Cargill Facility In Your Area


View Cargill vegetable oil facilities in a larger map

2  Get Inspired

Use these great resources to plan your action and check out RAN’s recent Occupy Cargill action in the Twin Cities.

3  Sign Up

Register your event or join an already registered action in your area.

4  Report Back

Let us know what happened so we can track the scope of actions around the world and share your event.

Why Occupy Cargill?

There are many reasons why we should Occupy Cargill and their corporate domination of our food supply. Let’s look at palm oil as an example of just one of Cargill’s many commodities they control:

Cargill plays a leading role in palm oil markets, trading an estimated 25% of the global supply of this common food additive. But palm oil production comes as at a huge price for rainforests, human rights and the climate.

Palm oil production is tightly linked to the destruction of valuable rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. Rapidly expanding palm oil plantations have already spread into millions of acres of rainforests, making palm oil a leading cause of deforestation and wiping out critical habitat that threatens the very survival of iconic endangered species like the Borneo Orangutan.

Cargill’s palm oil is also driving the displacement of Indigenous communities in Indonesia. Without proper supply chain safeguards in place, Cargill continues to purchase, trade and profit from palm oil grown on lands stolen from local communities and other palm oil plantation areas with active on-going social conflict and human rights violations.

Occupy Our Food Supply LogoCargill is linked to human rights and labor violations in the palm oil sectors in Indonesia and Malaysia. The U.S. Department of Labor has placed Indonesian and Malaysian produced palm oil on its “Red List” of products produced by child and forced labor. Cargill has failed to implement meaningful measures to clean up its palm oil business and eliminate purchases from palm oil plantation companies using child or forced labor despite having repeatedly been made aware of these problems.

Occupy Our Food Supply offers us a special opportunity to stand united against Cargill and to fight for sustainable food systems that allow the lush rainforests of Indonesia, and all of Earth’s delicate ecosystems, to thrive.

31 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Are there no Cargill facilities in Canada? Or have just no Canadians created an event yet?

  2. Hillary says:

    Hi Natasha-
    Great question!
    You are correct, Cargill does indeed have many facilities in Canada (just not vegetable oil processing facilities which comprise the blue dots on the above map).

    Doing a Google Maps search for “Cargill” will yield hundreds of additional facilities in every U.S. state and more countries than not around the world. (http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl). Just make sure it is a Cargll Inc. facility, make a plan, get your friends, and go get ‘em!

  3. Chelsea Matthews says:

    You can also find Cargill Canada facilities right here: http://www.cargill.ca/en/locations/index.jsp

  4. Brad Wilson says:

    It’s fine to challenge Cargill on an issue like this. On the other hand, in the US, this is a farm bill year! This is a key time to mobilize for a much larger confrontation of Cargill, as Cargill has been the most important corporation of the agribusiness output complex (farm commodity buyers) that has won massive farm injustice for the US and globally. The US (Canadian, etc.) family farm justice movement has challenged Cargill on this during the 6 decades of farm bill decline in the US, but ultimately failed to win, as there was not a sufficient consumer or food movement to support the efforts. Today we have that consumer food movement, but it almost always hasn’t understood how to advocate for farm justice in the farm bill. The Food Movement has unknowingly sided with Cargill by advocating for zero price floor policies (mere subsidy reforms). The problem has been unjustly cheap farm prices, caused by lowering and eliminating price floors and related prices. Subsidies do not cause cheap prices (see “Michael Pollan Rebuttal”). It is essential that we mobilize the food movement this year to join the farm justice movement (led in the US by the National Family Farm Coalition) and stop siding with Cargill. Click my name for documentation and support from Via Campesina, Black farmers, Africa, Europe, Canada, Food and Water Watch, IATP, nffc.net.

  5. You can get more information on Cargill from Brewster Kneen’s books Trading Up (Cargill in Canada) and Invisible Giant (Cargill and its international strategies). Also check http://www.ramshorn.ca for an archive and search for recent information.

  6. Amanda D says:

    Natasha O:

    Email me.

  7. Michelle Kay says:

    Hi, there’s a Cargill plant in Martorell, Barcelona, Spain, which makes glucose products from corn. Can it be added to the map?

  8. nana yuriko says:

    fyi, i just called and left my message…well, i told his secretary…not sure what good that will do, but maybe something will happen, when thousands will block his line…

  9. Kurt Hilden says:

    Please do all you can to fight agribusiness Cargill BEFORE we lose our power to do anything. It is a lie when it is said “we the people are the government!” All is controlled by the Corporate world, lobbyists, ill advised government and bought off politicians! JUST SAY NO as said Nancy Reagan.

  10. Ian says:

    Went ahead and phoned the company and asked for his office, they redircted my phone call a couple of times & then just sent me to general voice mail…The Operators were all rather pleasant.

  11. alison says:

    I just place my call. The “call screener” sent me to voicemail, after hearing what I was calling about. I left the detailed message as requested.

  12. aeh says:

    I’ve been in Greg Page’s office. He’s never there. So, it’s a pretty big waste of your time to even call him.

  13. Carol says:

    From Friday February 24:
    Just now (around 1 pm EST), I phoned Cargill’s CEO. I was immediately transferred to his office, where I spoke with his assistant, Terry Dockman. Following the RAN script, I stated why I was calling, and also mentioned the people named as leading supporters of the Occupy Cargill action, which she recognized.

    I emphasized that I was very well aware of Cargill’s massive role in the destruction of Indonesian rainforests and their ecosystems, including the potential extinction of the orangutans and of the indigenous peoples in areas where they were razing the rainforests to grow palm oil plantations.

    I further emphasized that I also knew Cargill was one of _the_ largest food-producing corporations (even though they had no presence in Massachusetts), and could make choices to stop doing all the catastrophically harmful things they were doing, which amounted in my opinion to ecocide, biocide, and genocide.

    She said I was the first call she had received on this, and asked me for my name, phone number, and email so that she could send me some information. I gave my contact info to her, thanked her for listening, and said I looked forward to the email info from Cargill, so that a dialog could be opened and more detailed information sent to them.

    That’s it–all the best,

    Carol

  14. I called and was routed to voicemail where I left a very pleasant message based on the script provided. I had hoped to speak with someone, but even if we leave messages it can make an impact. People must be willing to do it though!

  15. Brian says:

    I work for Cargill, and I’m proud of this company. We produce healthy feed and food, in addition to many other services we provide. Did you happen to read recently what company gave the largest food donation in African history? Oh yes…it was Cargill..the very corporation you seek to demonize. Get a grip, people. If you want to grow your own food, more power to you. Stop trying to do things to keep others from enjoying the products we provide. If you don’t want to buy Cargill products, then don’t.

  16. Brian says:

    Apparently, my last comment didn’t get posted…hmmm. Interesting.

    If you want to read the truth, go here: http://www.cargill.com/news/cargill-statement-occupy-our-food-supply/index.jsp

  17. Marlee-I says:

    Occupied the phone line and left a message. I stand and support Occupy our food supply!

  18. Stop Monsanto says:

    Sharing this info on my wall….great work!

  19. Brad Wilson says:

    Brian has shared his views here twice, including a link to a Cargill PR statement. On the other hand, I don’t see where Cargill is allowing public posting of comments with reference to it’s PR message. Brian can post here. We can’t post at his link. I think this location has a much stronger position and therefore isn’t afraid of debate. The weakness of Cargill’s statement is easily seen. No wonder they don’t want any public discussion, let alone a formal debate. I’d be glad to discuss these matters in detail, in public. Brian, can you set that up over at the Cargill site?

  20. Brad Wilson says:

    We need some “sunshine” from Cargill! I’m looking for data on how much of the major program crops Cargill buys for various uses (export, Cargill CAFOs, various processing: corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, cotton, sorghum grain, barley, oats, peanuts). Brian, is Cargill a good company that will tell us who it is, how big it is? I’d just like simple figures per year for the US and for Cargill in the rest of the world. Does anyone else have sources for this information? It would be very helpful for evaluating Brian’s claims and feedback to Occupy Cargill. It’s just basic factual information.

    Thanks.

  21. Brad Wilson says:

    The link, (from Brian’s link,) to “Fact Sheets” and then “Cargill Fast Facts” has various PR info about good works from Cargill, not much of anything about Cargill as a business. It does mention “Cargill loads and discharges bulk goods in more than 6,000 ports around the world.” Wow, what a teaser.

    Brian, you came here and joined in the discussions. You said you want us to see the “truth.” Ok, here are some things to discuss. You suggest that criticisms aren’t factual, that they “demonize.”

    Ok, I see there’s a “Cargill Cotton” in more than 50 countries. Cotton has been a big justice issue, you know, at WTO. Those basic facts would help to clarify things.

    Please add sugar to my list above. I’m first interested in beet sugar. I see under “Financial Information” and “Our Businesses” a lot of businesses (5 categories). I see Cargill Sugar, etc. I see Cargill offers crop insurance. What’s it’s view on EWG’s analysis of insurance subsidies in the farm bill? Under Corn Milling I see HFCS.

    But I just want some basic facts. How much of the program crops does Cargill buy? Let’s get to the bottom of this truth/demonize issue with basic facts.

  22. Brad Wilson says:

    Ok, the HFHS stuff links to “Sweet Surprize,” form the Corn Refiners Association, (7 big companies?) and under Position statements they supported the Korea-US Free Trade agreement. How about the farm bill? I see they have a statement about how HFCS manufacturers do not receive government subsidies (http://www.sweetsurprise.com/learning-center/hfcs-not-subsidized) and that links to a Promar International study (A Perspective on U.S. Farm Programs and the Corn Refining Industry Confirms that High Fructose Corn Syrup is Not Subsidized). Yes, it’s good for Occupy the Food System to understand that, (but click my name for a proper interpretation). I don’t see that Promar is addressing the issues of the Tufts University Study, “Sweetening the Pot”, however. It doesn’t mention how corporate sugar refiners, are “implicitly” subsidized by the farm bill, (like Cargill hogs, which, by Tufts’ standard, got twice as much as the biggest co-op of farmers getting regular subsidies).

  23. Hillary says:

    Hi Brian. Thanks for your comment. I wanted respond specifically to your comment “If you don’t want to buy Cargill products, then don’t.”

    The problem is that through such massive consolidation of our entire food supply in the hands of Cargill Inc., most of us don’t actually even have the choice not to buy Cargill products because it controls so much of the food system.

    As your own company claims, “We are the flour in your bread, the wheat in your noodles, the salt on your fries. We are the corn in your tortillas, the chocolate in your dessert, the sweetener in your soft drink. We are the oil in your salad dressing and the beef, pork or chicken you eat for dinner. We are the cotton in your clothing, the backing on your carpet and the fertilizer in your field.” (Cargill corporate brochure, 2001).

    Cargill is plays such a massive role in the food supply, not only is it impossible for most people to ‘opt out’ of buying Cargill products, but there is a bigger problem here that needs to be addressed: Cargill’s lack of ethics and accountability are causing serious human rights and environmental safety violations around the world. I think it’s quite reasonable to expect a public outcry against a corporate giant if they aren’t doing right by people and the planet.

    For example, Cargill Inc. is the largest importer of palm oil into the U.S. and still doesn’t have even basic enough supply chain safeguards to prevent slave labor, climate emissions, and rainforest destruction in products. That’s simply unacceptable, and not something people can “choose not to buy”… it’s something Cargill needs to take responsibility for.

    Brian, you are right that Cargill made a big donation to help with the hunger crisis in Africa. But really solving the world hunger crisis isn’t only going to be achieved through donating shiploads of rice once people are already starving. To truly address world hunger, we need to examine a bigger problem: what causes these crises in the first place. As someone committed to ending world hunger, I can’t ignore that one of the root causes of global food crises are agribusiness giants like Cargill gambling on food prices through agricultural speculation. For more information about this, visit: http://ran.org/sites/default/files/ran_cargill_factsheet.pdf and also read other information and reports cited in our sources.

    Thank you for engaging in dialogue with us. At the end of the day, I think we all want a safe and healthy future, and I appreciate your willingness to hear another perspective that may change your view on how we get there.

  24. catherine says:

    I called and left a message for the CEO and hope it will make a difference.

  25. Brad Wilson says:

    The previous comment and the accompanying RAN factsheet (esp. in it’s conclusions) on Cargill misrepresent the Cargill’s role in the global food poverty crisis. “Gambling” and “speculation” are not the main problems. The roots of the poverty are long term stable low farm market prices, (1953-2010 & esp. 1981-2006) which are a well known characteristic free markets, and the specific result of US farm bill policies (as we’re the dominant global exporter). Cargill, it’s prominent former executives at USDA over the years, and it’s various trade associations, have long opposed the price floors and supply management that give the “fair trade,” anti-dumping pricing that the “undernourished” (who are 80% rural) need for their farming operations and farm economies. Click my name for documentation of how this is a widespread progressive misunderstanding, and for support from Africa and Via Campesina for my views.

  26. Bob says:

    Go get a job and stop whining.

  27. Luane Todd says:

    Looks like Cargill must have a crew monitoring internet articles about them. On Grist Vandana Shiva has an article very critical of all the food company giants. Cargill’s name came up and after 1 comment was posted a Cargill company man chimed in and gave the same basic storyline that Brian did. The man posting for Cargill on Grist is Mark Murphy, Asst VP for Corporate Responsibility, Cargill.

    Maybe this says we are making some progress with letting in the sunshine. It might be a very good idea to focus on the monopoly aspect of Cargill’s business model. That is easily documented and anyone with a modicum of sense understands that monopolies restrict the number of players in a given industry.

  28. Brandi says:

    I also happen to work for Cargill, and I have to admit I’m sick of reading articles about you bashing the company. We get it you think Cargill is the big bad corporation that is out to destroy everything. I also happen to know that the majority of the stuff you call “facts” aren’t true, and I knew that before I started working here. But the company you are trying to destroy happens to supply jobs to over 100,000 people, it feeds people all over the nation, and it gives money to charities all over the nation. So before you try to put Cargill down consider the good they do as well. Also on a side note did you really think that when you attempted to call Greg Page you would get through? Come on he runs a major company so taking your phone call to make demands really isn’t on his list of top things to do. You can make demands all you want but people loose respect for those demands when you make a spectical out of it by trying to get arrested and doing things to purposely get into the news.

  29. Brian says:

    Wow, I was surprised at the number of responses directed at me! I do not have a position of leadership in Cargill, so I don’t have access to much of the information you are requesting, and I can’t change anything on the Cargill website. All I can tell you is this – I have worked in a variety of industries for a variety of companies, and I have NEVER worked for or known of a company that has higher ethical standards than Cargill. It was apparent from the hiring process to this very day – Cargill has an ethical standard that is far and away higher than any other company I’ve known, and Cargill has even stopped working in certain countries due to pressure from local officials for bribes, and even instances where Cargill was pressured to break laws and regulations…which we simply will not do. It is part of our company code, and when you are employed with Cargill, you are told clearly that if you do violate laws or regulations, you face termination.

    All this to say that, yes, we are a HUGE company, and we do, in fact, “touch” nearly every aspect of the food industry. However, after having seen how things are done in this company, I am even more confident and assured of the fact that we do things the right way, and go above and beyond what many other such companies do in that respect.

  30. Jay says:

    Cargill statement on Occupy Our Food Supply
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    Cargill encourages thoughtful discussion about how to sustainably feed a planet of 7 billion people. We believe access to food is a basic right. The United Nations estimates that more than 1 billion people don’t have enough access to food – and that the number has increased with the global recession. That’s why we help local farmers increase their productivity, promote investment in local agriculture, and support organizations that protect the environment and fight hunger.
    Whatever your personal food choices, if you’re lucky enough to enjoy food choices, please consider donating to your local food bank or to an organization such as the World Food Programme or CARE.
    We’d also like to share our point of view on some of the issues being raised by Occupy Our Food Supply.
    Control of the food supply: That’s not possible for any company. Food supplies are controlled by weather, global demand and the actions of governments around the world. Enough food is grown to feed everyone on the planet. The problem is getting it to the people who need it.
    Cargill’s role in the food supply: Local farmers supply the world with its food. For example, in the U.S. alone there are 750,000 cattle farmers. While some butcher their own beef to sell at a farmers market, others rely on companies like Cargill to turn it steaks and hamburger for the grocery store. (Watch this video from the Oprah Show.) Grain is grown by millions of local farmers. They rely on companies like Cargill to ship it to where it’s needed. We also buy grain for our mills, where we make products like flour. We don’t control the meat supply, and we don’t control grain markets.
    The environment: Because Cargill relies on farmers, protecting the earth’s resources is critical to us. We partner with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund and Flora & Fauna International to protect forests and orangutan habitat. At our own facilities, we collect rainwater and use recycled water, run boilers with sawdust and sunflower seeds and turn manure into electricity.
    Small farmers: Cargill depends on farmers. They’re our suppliers. We buy from farms of all sizes, including small ones. In the U.S., the average cattle farmer has a herd of only 42. In West and Central Africa, where we buy cocoa beans, most farmers tend only one or two hectares of land. We provide free training, build schools and offer financing to farmers in many places around the world, because what’s good for farmers is good for Cargill.
    Palm oil: We are proud to be the first company working on a 100-percent-sustainable supply chain. Our plantation in Indonesia that the Rainforest Action Network visited was one of the first to be certified sustainable in 2009. The certification of our other plantation is under way, and we invited RAN to be part of that process. We helped 8,800 small farmers we buy from get certified. Our refineries have been certified, and we’ve been supplying certified oil since 2010.
    Human rights: The Rainforest Action Network has visited our PT Hindoli palm oil plantation in Indonesia, as have other NGOs. RAN knows we pay our workers fairly, built schools for workers’ children and pay the teachers, and built medical clinics and provide free care for our workers’ families. RAN has no basis for accusing Cargill of violating human rights.
    Sustainable food: Cargill trains farmers to grow food sustainably, which not only helps the environment – it also helps farmers make more money. In Africa, we paid 26,000 farmers an extra $2.2 million last year for their certified sustainable cocoa beans. In Indonesia, we helped 8,800 small farmers get certified for their sustainable palm fruit. In Brazil, we work with the Nature Conservancy to teach farmers how to grow soybeans more sustainably, and we support efforts to develop a certification for sustainable soy.
    Local food: Local farmers markets, buying directly from local farmers and backyard gardens are all valuable ways to get food. In fact, 85 percent of the world’s food is consumed in the country where it’s grown. But not all food grows in all conditions. A wheat farmer in the U.S., for example, needs to be able to export his crop so other people can have bread. A cocoa bean farmer in Africa needs to sell his crop around the world so other people can have chocolate. Cargill helps farmers ship crops from where they grow to where they’re needed.
    Organic food: Cargill has no reason to oppose organic food. In fact, we make organic chocolate and organic syrup as well as supplying ingredients for organic foods such as yogurt
    Food prices: The commodity price spikes in recent years have been caused by extreme weather and poor harvests in some of the world’s largest growing areas – China, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Indonesia – combined with political instability in other areas and high oil prices that made it more expensive to plant, harvest and transport crops.
    Free trade: Cargill is in favor of free trade so food can get from places where it grows in abundance to places where it doesn’t. Our support of free trade doesn’t mean a lack of regulation. In fact, well-regulated markets are a benefit.
    Corporate “personhood”: Cargill doesn’t claim to be a “person,” and the court ruling allowing corporations to donate unlimited money in federal elections through Super PACS hasn’t changed anything for our company. We don’t give money to Super PACs, nor does Cargill contribute to the political parties. We didn’t before the Citizens United ruling. We don’t now. Our employees can contribute to individual candidates through a PAC if they wish, but are subject to regular election laws limiting them to $5,000 a year. The names and amounts are all public record.

  31. Erica says:

    Does anyone have some sort of comprehensive list of Cargill products? I know they produce and sell to nearly everyone. On their website they list flours and chocolate, sweeteners and malts, but I can’t find much more. Are there certain snack brands that use flour specifically from Cargill? Do certain store’s generic brands come from Cargill? Any information would be helpful.

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