Posted on Thu, August 13, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
0 Comments | Categories: Farms and Farming, Labeling, News, Current Events, Take Action,
by Youth Programs Intern Reece Trevor
A few days ago, Cecily posted a piece on the Slow Food USA blog about Monsantos rather disingenuous efforts to market a commitment to sustainability on public radio shows. Monsantos radio spots are the latest in a long string of corporate attempts to green-wash their products and actions by spending lots of money on glitzy environmentally-themed public relations efforts even as they continue to conduct business as usual. Green-washing seems to grow more and more rampant by the week, so I thought Id throw in my two cents.
My two Canadian cents, that is. Earlier this summer, Hellmanns (of mayonnaise fame) launched a web site called Eat Real, Eat Local. Its a slick flash-based site designed to educate Canadians about the importance of eating locally-grown foods. The sites centerpiece is an animated short highlighting, for the most part, Canadas considerable food trade deficit. Hellmanns frames the issue primarily in economic terms, often veering towards the nationalistic as well with its portrayals of hard-working Canadian farmers losing out to foreign producers.
Okay, fair enough. Economics is certainly a viable component of locavorism. But then the movie fades, and a brave little jar of mayonnaiseyoull never guess what brandappears at the head of a mighty phalanx of broccoli, carrots, and beets. Have no fear, good people of Canada! Hellmanns cares, and theyre here to save you from the corporate masterminds who want to corrupt your nations food system!
Doesnt quite add up, right? Sure enough, if you look past all the graphics and nifty rotating sidebars on Eat Real, Eat Local, you can see that it contains almost no substance. A few clicks bring up some lonely one-line slogans. Its all well and good to tell people to encourage your grocer to carry more Canadian products, but the only action Hellmanns is suggesting involves putting your name on their petition. If they get enough signatures, theyre going to give the whopping sum of $25,000 (Canadian dollars, presumably) to the environmentalist non-profit Evergreen. Thats not exactly going to offset the impact of producing mayonnaise in factories on four continents, if you ask me.
You can also view a chart of seasonal foods by province or alleged real food recipes, but even here, somethings off. For instance, every recipe on the site includes a Hellmanns product in all its xanthan-gummy and phosphorous-acidic glory.
Hellmanns knows that the information on Eat Real, Eat Local is incomplete at best and mis-leading at worst. Thats just how they intended it to be, Id guess. At the end of the day, you leave their site not with a better understanding of how to eat sustainably, locally, or healthily, but with a clear (and spurious) link between Hellmanns and sustainability. Its green-washing at its worst, and I can only hope that people arent fooled.
Want real mayonnaise? Try this one!
Mayonnaise in the Lesser household
[aka Larry and Masuko Lesser, Erika’s parents and members of SF Boston] -
2 extra large egg yolks
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. Coleman’s mustard powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cup canola oil
juice of half a large lemon
Whip all except oil and lemon juice in an electric mixer until thick.
Dribble in oil, being sure all is incorporated before the next amount. Interchange with adding lemon juice.