The Organic Narrative & Whole Foods Red Flags
The year the switch was flipped. That year was 1994, when Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa, the invasion of Haiti was orchestrated by the Clintons, the Rwanda genocide murdered 800,000 people while Bill Clinton was informed daily yet did nothing to stop it, John F. Kennedy Jr. sent a letter to then Senator Joe Biden calling him a traitor, UNAIDS was founded as well as the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and cloning research was getting its kick-off in Argentina. Yes, 1994 was indeed a pivotal year, but that’s not all that happened that year.
On July 5, 1994 Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, while the Flavr Savr tomato saw its debut after a stamp of approval for the first commercial sale of genetically modified foods (GMOs). It was quite an exciting year for Whole Foods as well. Founded in 1980 by John Mackey, Mark Skiles, Renee Lawson Hardy, and Craig Weller, with their merger of Safer Way Natural Foods and Clarksville Natural Grocery, they decided to expand out of Austin, TX into Houston after seizing opportunity of growth through mergers and acquisitions. By 1992, Whole Foods was becoming a superstar and took their company public with opening shares at $1.06. Things were rockin’ and rollin’, and by November 29, 1993 they saw their first stock split. 1994 was looking good for everyone in this group.
By 1998, Fortune magazine was shining a spotlight on Whole Foods, and what started out as a small local grocer with a staff of 19, had emerged into a super expanding wonder. In 1999, they partnered with Marine Stewardship Council, founded in London in 1997, for more sustainable seafood choices of wild-caught fish. By 2001 they had chosen New York as one of their newest locations, and in 2002 launched their 365 Organic Everyday Value brand, becoming the first national commodity-priced, all organic product line in the United States. Incredible!
Meanwhile, the Flavr Savr tomato was an epic fail for the first ever genetically modified food designed and approved for human consumption. But that didn’t stop the desires of other companies to pioneer forward with their own ambitions, and just two years later farmers were utilizing 1.7 million hectares for GMO growth. By 2016, they were utilizing 185 million hectares, accounting for 12% of the global cropland. However, concerns were rising about the dangers of GMOs, and in 2013 council member Margaret Wille of the Maui Council Floor was introducing a bill to ban GMOs from the Big Island. It was getting a lot of traction and before long, anti-GMO activists from around the world were video-conferencing in to the hearing to speak in support of the ban, but scientists were not given as much time to speak. After a full year, the ban was approved only to be overturned in 2015 by a federal judge from the US Court of Appeals, ruling Hawaiian counties could not enact their own GMO bans. Despite this, more than 20 other states jumped on the bandwagon in trying to push legislation banning the products or requiring them to be labeled. In 2016, Barack Obama signed a national GMO labeling law requiring food makers to list any genetically-modified ingredients in their products, only the catch was that it would be determined by the federal government as to when a product should be labeled as bioengineered – how convenient. Being that 75-80% of food Americans consume is genetically modified, it’s safe to assume only a small percentage of foods are actually indicating this on their labels. Of course, by this time, it was no longer a big game issue for them because they had already been spearheading the “organic narrative” for 14 years, covering both sides of the industry equally. They had the market well covered.
THE Leader of “Organic Food”
Whole Foods was THE leader in “organics” after launching and heavily promoting their 365 Organic Everyday Value brand back in 2002 as the first organic product line in the United States. They even introduced “enhanced meat standards.” At the same time, they were outfitting their Berkley, CA store with solar panels to become the first retailer to introduce solar power for a green environment. Coincidentally, this is the same year Al Gore began his tour on climate change, with his slideshow he had compiled for a multimedia presentation around the US and worldwide. From 2004 through 2007, Whole Foods earned Environmental Protection Agency Green Power awards for its renewable energy purchasing. Whole Foods was booming, and that same year they set their sight on Toronto, opening their first location outside the US. By December, their stock was added to the NASDAQ-100 index. They were such an amazing trend-setter with their organic products, in 2003 they became American’s first National Certified Organic Grocer, and Ernst & Young named co-founder John Mackey its 2003 Entrepreneur of the Year.
Gluten was also becoming a bit of a health issue with many people, so in 2004 Whole Foods opened a gluten-free bake house located in Raleigh, NC, covering all angles of the “organic health food” industry. By 2009, they had accumulated countless awards and recognition by every major media source, from Newsweek’s top 10 list of ‘Greenest Retail Companies in the U.S.’ to Vanity Fair’s ‘Best Provider’. This is when they made their commitment to supporting the non-GMO Project. In 2013, Fortune magazine ranked them 19th as the ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’, and they became the first national grocery chain to set a deadline for full GMO transparency, announcing by 2018 all products in the US and Canada stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain GMO. That is a lot of back-up and a lot of fame, yet, despite this expeditious effort, and unprecedented “firsts” in the “organic”, “green” and “non-GMO” fields, they let it all go on August 28, 2017 when Amazon bought them out to the tune of $13.7 billion.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, was getting one heck of a grocery chain that literally single-handedly pioneered the “organic food” industry. It was already running like a Swiss clock – how could he lose? This wasn’t the only big purchase Bezos has made since he launched Amazon. Back on October 1, 2013 he acquired the Washington Post, its real estate, and its other papers via Nash Holdings, Inc. which he established specifically for that purchase. Coincidentally, that same year Bezos secured a $600 million dollar contract with the CIA posing a potential conflict of interest, being as his papers may find issue reporting on them. Currently there is an ongoing bid up for grabs with the Pentagon for a $10 billion cloud service contract. According to a June 26, 2018 article in Bloomberg, there are at least 9 tech companies vying for this contract, the bidding has been paused, and the Pentagon states it will make its decision by September. If Amazon is chosen, that would certainly be putting a lot of eggs in the same basket.
Speaking of eggs, in 2013 Bill Gates and Peter Thiel backed Hampton Creek Foods (now known as JUST, Inc.), with their San Francisco startup, who rolled out two eggless products in California Whole Foods stores. That’s correct, the man who supports GMOs, also wants a slice of the “organic food” industry. After all, they saw this coming. The products being sold in Whole Foods are ‘Beyond Eggs’ and ‘Just Mayo’, which are made from plant-based ingredients that mimic the taste of eggs and mayonnaise. JUST is also making lab-grown meat that it wants to sell in Walmarts. Surely, they have their sights set on Whole Foods as well.
How did this San Francisco start-up begin its venture? It was founded in 2011 by Josh Balk and Joshua Tetrick, and in December of that year, they received $500,000 in seed funding from Khosla Ventures, owned by Vinod Khosla. Vinod, one of the co-founders of Sun-Microsystems, is also one of the 183 members of The Giving Pledge, which was created in August 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet. The wealthiest billionaires, from 22 countries, commit to “giving more than half of their wealth away”. That is how it is phrased on their website, though a more concise way of phrasing it might be – putting their money into investments and NGOs. Other investors jumped on board as well, such as Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin, Hong Kong billionaire Lin Ka-shing, Founders Fund, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, and Ali Partovi. That’s a lot of big league players providing cash flow. Why are their products getting so much attention?
Investors weren’t the only ones paying attention. Hampton Creek Foods has seen it’s fair share of investigations and lawsuits. In 2014 Unilever, owner of Hellman’s Mayonnaise, filed a lawsuit against them for false advertising and unfair competition. Later that year they dropped the lawsuit with no explanation as to why. Of course, it could have something to do with 112,000 signatures on a change.org petition stating “stop bullying sustainable food companies”.
In 2015, after their battle with the Food and Drug Administration over whether they can legally call their egg-free spread “mayo”, Business Insider did an investigation and spoke with more than a half-dozen former employees “who say that the company used shoddy science, or ignored science completely, stretched the truth when labeling samples, and created an uncomfortable and unsafe work environment, partly in an effort to meet production deadlines.”
By 2016, the Securities Exchange Commission and Department of Justice were investigating them for a “mayo buyback scheme” to give the appearance their products were a bigger hit than they actually were. Apparently co-founder Joshua Tetrick was also concerned about president elect Trump and took out a $200,000 full page ad in the New York Times stating, “Your campaign is un-American”. Which investor foot the bill for that? According to CNN “The ad comes after 145 tech leaders penned an open letter to the world about Donald Trump, including execs from Google, Facebook, and Apple as well as startups, venture capital firms, nonprofits and universities.” Curious.
NPR published an article in 2013 titled ‘Why Bill Gates is Investing in Chicken-less Eggs”. Of course Bill Gates is also a funder of NPR, so they help to get his story out. Here is an excerpt from that story which indicates one of Bill’s other investments in the food industry.
“Raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact,” Gates writes. (Note: The Gates Foundation is a funder of NPR’s coverage of global health). “Put simply, there’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people,” Gates concludes.
A big part of the environmental footprint of eggs and meat is the amount of water and land it takes to grow the grain that’s fed to animals used in food production. There’s also the fossil fuel energy needed to produce and transport the products.
So increasingly, innovators are looking to develop plant-based alternatives. For instance, Beyond Meat is producing a meat-substitute product that’s gaining a lot of attention.
Yes, Bill Gates also funds ‘Beyond Meat’, and they sell their products in Whole Foods stores as well as more than 280 Safeway supermarkets. In fact, according to an article by Forbes, they state “‘Beyond Meat’ said it would use the funds to triple the size of its production. The company’s burgers are currently sold in more than 5,000 stores, including Whole Foods, Kroger and Albertsons. Beyond Meat has also been added to menus at nearly 4,000 restaurants, hotels and college dining halls. Next month, it plans to enter all TGI Fridays restaurants, which will integrate the vegan patty into their Burger Bar.”
“The funds”, being the investment from Bill Gates, General Mills Inc., and Tyson Foods Inc.
This is not the only meat source Bill Gates is interested in investing in. In 2017 Bill Gates and Richard Branson invested in Memphis Meats, a San Francisco-based company that is developing meat from stem cells. Maybe Whole Foods will get in on that as well with this chummy bunch of tech giants? Just five days before the signing of the sales of Whole Foods over to Amazon, Vanity Fair published an article on ‘Memphis Meats’. Here is an excerpt:
Just as Whole Foods shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission gave the green light to Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, news broke that a number of high-profile investors—including billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson—have decided to pour their money into a very different sort of food venture: Memphis Meats, a San Francisco-based company that is developing meat from stem cells. The start-up is part of a growing “clean meat” movement intended to produce a variety of sustainable, lab-grown meat products using animal cells, without having to actually feed or slaughter any animals in the process.
As many people are aware, Bill Gates is very concerned about overpopulation, so much so, he partnered to create an animated website chalked full of scare tactics as you scroll down and down and down to see the dire animations along with statements such as, “Will population growth be the end of life as we know it?” All of this begs the question, what are Bill Gates intentions exactly? Population control by use of stem cells, genetic modifications, and vaccines? Is that the answer, and is that the healthy route to go? Many might disagree with this approach.
They All Lived Happily Ever After (for now)
To recap, 1994 was a pivotal year where Amazon was launched, Whole Foods was catapulted, and GMOs were making their mark. But the GMO industry was having a hard time pushing through the barriers of human activists wanting to create legislation and bans for fear of obvious health risks. Despite that, people have been serving up GMO meals to their families for 30 years now, with the biggest push beginning in 1996. Whole Foods received an unusual amount of assistance along the way, with major advances and awards from big media, and supercharged the “organic food” and “green energy” paradigms, making them the first National Certified Organic Grocer AND the first retailer to use solar power. While GMOs were growing strong, the organic narrative was feverishly propagating simultaneously. But just how healthy are some of these food products when the very people advocating for GMOs and lab-grown meat are also the investors of products being sold at a “Nationally Certified Organic Grocer”? Maybe sticking with local farmers is truly the way to go, doing your own research, and always listening to your gut.
Let’s not forget, in 2013 Jeff Bezos of Amazon made a deal with the devil for a $600 million contract with the CIA, while at the same time, purchased the Washington Post, all while Bill Gates and Richard Branson were rolling eggless eggs off the shelves at Whole Foods and building toward their lab-made meat from stem cells. Finally, in 2017, Amazon, who is for the most part owned by the CIA at this point, makes its move and buys Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
But good news! Now you can walk into a Whole Foods and buy a brand new shiny Echo for your home! Just be careful, or you might be recorded and have your message sent off to someone else, as seen in this May, 2018 CNBC report. In other good news, with just two hours notice, you can have your grocery order delivered right to your door! There’s no telling who might show up. Surprise!
Thank you so much for putting all this information together! I’ve had bits and pieces, but you nailed it!
You are so very welcome!
Stephanie La Porta
Wow this is incredible journalism thank you so much for all this info!! I have gone to Whole Foods less and less and will continue to avoid at all cost
I also stopped buying from Amazon… this monopoly is sickening, Literally and figuratively
Corey You just found yourself a new Patreon!
Keep up the awesome work!!
Excellent article Corey. Thank you for putting this out…
Thank you. You are very welcome! 🙂
Great article, Now please explain why Bill Gates and his connected father are so involved with vaccines and what they are trying do with them? I’m leaning toward depopulation but?
That article is in the works. It may be a bit, as it is turning into quite the novella because it encompasses a lot of other topics as well. 😉
Amazing, I’ve spent the last 15 years with WFM as a team trainer, organics trainer and a buyer in 3 departments, I saw all of this. Your take is awesome, I can totally see it. You are however too gracious with WFM, if I may respectfully say so. WFM has done incredible things for the food industry. Hands down! You only mentioned the tip of the iceberg. That was my praise for them. When I started in 2003 we were opening stores left and right (I helped with 7 of them), and spending money in a very unsustainable way, and with little actual regard for the waste do to WFM’s marketing practices, like huge displays that look great and create a tremendous amount of spoilage to mention just one obvious issue. They opened stores and brought on new team members (TM’s) faster than they could develop the culture, leadership started to lose quality and TM’s knowledge and customer service began to decline (I warned them of this trend in several regional “town hall” meetings). All of the “culture” that made WFM what it is, is now gone. In 2003 we were the 7th best to work for on Forbes’ 100 best list, and every TM was required to fill out the survey for it. Now they hand pick the TM’s for the survey, and only managed 57th last year. Now we’ve been bought by a man who is notorious for treating people poorly, some of us call him Dr. Evil. I’m sure we’ll be off the list soon. In last week’s town hall our regional president said it was a hostile takeover. He doesn’t see that over 30 years, he and many company leaders, including John Mackey ran WFM into the ground, and as soon as Bezos is ready, they will be gone too. What do people like Mr. Bezos and Mr. Gates, and all of their chummy buddies think a human being’s role should be in our planet’s future? Where do they believe our value lies, I don’t think they find it in our humanity, or quality of life.
I love that you shared your story! Thank you so much for adding to this article and validating it. It’s such a shame that the great mom and pops places are never allowed to grow, for they will be taken over by those that wish to control the world. I believe we are starting to see the beginnings of a change to all of that, but it will likely take quite some time to get to where we need to be.
And thank you for your kind response.
I would add that very few TM’s will speak out in this way, and that morale and commitment is very low with them. Labor has been slashed to where workload expectations are very unreasonable per TM, benefits have been cut, and profit sharing has been all but eliminated because parameters have tightened to a basically unachievable level. These are all typical corporate tactics (on paper it looks like they do a lot for us, but not really the case). I used to be able to write an email directly to John Mackey if I had a question. None of this connection exists anymore, in fact everyone is afraid to say anything because they worry that the wizard behind the curtain is listening (Bezos would work in place of Oz…). I’m sure someone on his payroll will find this and take note. I would watch the integrity of all of WFM’s social/environmental programs closely at this point, the substance under the facade is crumbling. There is much dirt to be found at WFM, and I don’t mean just organic potting soil.
Thanks again for your hard work!
I really appreciate you sharing all of this very important information. Thank you!
This is excellent work!. Knowing these people have this much power is chilling and gives me a physical reaction when I think about it. Who made them grand-poo-bah of this life, World?!. It’s infuriating the ultra rich partnered with our Gov to control us. We have wonderful farms upstate and I will be supporting them from now on. Thanks so much Corey, you’re incredibly gifted ?God Bless!
I know, it’s extremely infuriating indeed. They all need to be exposed for what they are doing. It’s happening on every level from local towns to states to government. BIG pay-to-play action and the rulers need to be brought down. It’s happening. Slowly, but it’s happening.
Simply fantastic. Tyvm.
Appreciate your straight forward organization and ability to put facts together succinctly. You have a gift… Thank you.
Thanks so much!
Your reporting is so completely excellent and is so utterly timely. Factually you’re late by about 50 years. This is no comment on you. This is a critique of the mainstream.
My daughter came home from school and informed me that it takes too many resources to sustain cows. I looked up and said, ‘You hear that, Lord, You messed up with those cows” and then gave her ‘the look’. Whole foods got too expensive and lots of stores carry organics now for a lot less. Haven’t shopped there in years. Thank you for this research Corey, Trump has A LOT of swamp to drain…
Great work with this, interesting and important piece IMO. That $600 million contract raises several huge red flags for me, in particular the Amazon cloud services and Clown access to such.
Additionally, this highlights the very disturbing manner in which our utilization of GMO sciences has bred a general perception of skepticisim and distrust. A science with the potential to yield healthier crops at greater abundance, in both fertile and less-so regions, has become something demonized rather than hailed for its potential.
Pursuit of an ability to provide all peoples in any region with bountiful abundance, given all of our economic prosperity, to me stands representative of our American values and principles. Enabiling communities/ regional cultures an ability to self-sustain feeding their local population. There might be some who grow tired of a potato or whatnot…but for the local markets ensured foodstuffs keeping any from going hungry, that should be our goal.
In other words, the distrust and general perception of GMO-sciences appears to be more and more by design. This piece brings me closer to that in a haunting way. Unamerican!!
Corey, you are one of our best real investigative journalists these days! This was a fantastic article.
Reading the section about Gates funding stem cell lab-created meat reminded me of Allan Savoy and his work/research reclaiming desert land for African community farming using grazing animals – how grazing animals are the key to bring life back to deserts, enriching the soil again for gardening, growing food.
The GMO farming practices caused so much harm to the soil environment and contributed to the growing desert problems. Once the land can no longer support the villages, the people have to move to more urban areas.
Getting rid of small farms sure feels like a diabolical forethought on the part of the Bill Gates Globalists!