Organic food advocates link “Marketplace” story to agribusiness sponsor

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The Organic Consumers Association, an advocacy group that campaigns on food safety and agricultural sustainability issues, launched an online campaign objecting to a May 4 Marketplace story on how to feed the world’s growing population. “The Non-Organic Future,” reported by Adrienne Hill, concluded that organic food movement caters to a niche market, and that the future of farming involves wider acceptance of genetically modified foods and other commercial agricultural practices. The association described the report as a “biased and inaccurate story that sounds as if it was written by its major underwriter: Monsanto Inc,” and urged its members to demand that local pubradio stations drop the program.

In an editor’s note responding to the story’s critics, Marketplace‘s George Judson urges listeners not to dismiss the show’s credibility on the basis of one report. “In practice, Marketplace, like most news organizations, thinks of its coverage as ongoing and cumulative. We’ve aired scores of pieces on organic food and organic farming (do a search on for “organic food,” for example), and we will do more.” He doesn’t respond to OCA’s allegation of undue influence by agribusiness giant Monsanto, whose Marketplace sponsorship has been a source of controversy for years. [Links: NPR ombudsman column, GMO Journal.]