"Fresh" Creator Circulates Petition Against Big-Ag Monopolies

ana Sofia joanes: "Free our farmers"ana Sofia joanes to DOJ:
"Free our farmers"

The creator of Fresh, one of the most watched food documentaries this past year, has put down her camera to take on a new role: food policy activist.

ana Sofia joanes (that's how she spells it) has been soliciting electronic signatures for a petition directed to the U.S. Department of Justice. Here’s what it says:

Department of Justice:

The current monopoly in our food system is threatening our food security, the livelihood of our small farmers, and our choices as consumers.

We need to break up these corporations' total control on our food. We support your decision to investigate the impact of the consolidation of our farm economy on our farmers and community and we urge you to then act to free our farmers and reinstate meaningful competition.

This petition comes on the heals of news that the Justice Department will be investigating possible antitrust violations by agri-giant Monsanto, which owns the patents to 93 percent of our country’s soybean crop and 80 percent of corn.

“President Obama’s Department of Justice is finally looking into the stranglehold that a handful of huge corporations have on farms across the country,” joanes writes on her website.

“These corporations – like Cargill and Monsanto – have monopolized huge swaths of our country’s food and farms, resulting in tremendous negative consequences on our food security, on the ability of small farmers to compete and survive, and ultimately on consumer choice.”

Obama’s new antitrust chief, Christine Varney, declared her commitment to “vigorous antitrust enforcement” last May, in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

"There is no adequate substitute for a competitive market, particularly during times of economic distress. Vigorous antitrust enforcement must play a significant role in the government's response to economic crises to ensure that markets remain competitive."

If you agree, sign joanes’s petition. You can also submit your comments directly to the Department of Justice no later than December 31, 2009. Electronic comments can be sent to this e-mail address: (For more detailed instructions, including information about public hearings coming up in 2010, visit the Center for Rural Affairs.)