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Eco Libs & Eco Grain

I was reading National Geographic this morning and noticed an ad the featured something called Eco Grain. “What in tarnation is Eco Grain?” the headline said.

Well, according to the ad, it is grown on special farms in Idaho “thanks to a more sustainable farming approach.”

Sounds good to me, I thought, I might get some of this Earthgrain bread. But, wait, maybe I should check this out a little more carefully.

What an ad, tailored for those eco libs that read National Geographic: “The Eco Grain Movement is starting small, but with your help won’t stay that way. You’re probably going the store anyway, so why not do a good deed while you’re at it? By simply buying our…. “ “So do the earth a favor…”

I decided to look up this eco grain phrase and found this, from Barry Shlachter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Sara Lee's EarthGrains brand has launched an "environmentally friendly" line of bread with a marketing blitz that describes itself as a "plot to save the earth, one field at a time."

It's triggered a furor by critics who cite a claim by Sara Lee on its Web site -- since deleted -- that some wheat in its new EarthGrains Eco-Grains bread is more sustainably grown than organic wheat. It also alleged that organic farming "destroyed undeveloped land."

While the nation's second-biggest baker is busy clarifying its position, an organic watchdog group named the Cornucopia Institute blasted Sara Lee for "advertising malpractice" and "greenwashing" -- using questionable environmental claims to promote products…..

…Sara Lee has launched a TV, radio, print and Internet ad campaign, harnessing Facebook and Twitter, to promote a "movement" where shoppers help the planet with every purchase of a loaf made with "Eco-Grains" wheat, its promotional materials say….

…Eco-Grains is a Sara Lee-trademarked name it gave to wheat grown in Idaho using precision agriculture. This approach includes satellite imagery and computer-guided application of fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide, aiming to avoid potentially harmful over-spraying while boosting yields. It's a hard white spring wheat sold by Horizon Milling, a Cargill affiliate, that can lighten and provide texture to typical whole wheat flours.

But Cargill said Mickelson and the four other Eco-Grain producers do not use no-till planting, the one precision technique that some soil experts say is superior to organic farming in terms of preventing soil erosion and runoff.

Only a fifth of the wheat in each loaf is Eco-Grains, but Sara Lee says that will increase…

Hoo boy, it’s hard to keep ahead of these corporate lies… Boycott ‘em, I say.

-Michael Laybourn

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