Founded in 1982, the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) works “to create a just, thriving food system.” The group’s activism is fueled by the assumption that “biotech corporations have dictated how we grow food, placing the health and economic burdens of pesticide use on farmers, farmworkers and rural communities.”
The organization argues that the biotech industry controls the regulatory agencies that should protect the public from GMOs and pesticides. “Corporate studies — and corporate representatives — are often driving regulatory decisions, [and] this research is rarely available for public or peer review.” Moreover, the industry’s “dirty little secret” is that GMO “seeds increase pesticide use by design.” To keep this status quo, PAN says, “the agricultural industry maintains an army of lobbyists in D.C., state capitals and countries worldwide to protect their interests.”
Working within this conspiratorial framework, PAN claims the industry knowingly harms consumers and farmers with pesticides. In August 2018, for instance, the group claimed that “Monsanto has deliberately deceived the public about the safety of its flagship herbicide Roundup for decades,” a pesticide commonly paired with GMO crops. ”For too long,” PAN continued, “we’ve let mega-corporations profit from toxic pesticides without paying for the damage.” In september 2018, PAN similarly accused the chemical company Bayer of “greenwashing” Monsanto’s track record of “shady dealings and the obfuscation of science” after Bayer bought Monsanto and dropped its name.
PAN is closely linked to other prominent groups involved in anti-GMO advocacy. Since 2012, the private foundation Ceres Trust has given PAN nearly $1.5 million. Ceres believes the “use of genetically engineered crops has resulted in unprecedented corporate ownership of agricultural systems ….” and funds environmental groups that lobby for restrictions on crop biotechnology. Besides PAN, these organizations include the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and Friends of the Earth.
Kyra Busch, program officer for the Christensen Fund’s Global and U.S. Southwest Programs, sits on PAN’s board of directors. The fund advocates for a transition away from “industrial agriculture” to agroecology, because modern farming relies on “petrochemicals and heavy mechanization,” contributing “roughly one third of global greenhouse gas emissions.” The Christian Fund has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-GMO advocacy groups since 2012, including Slow Food, Food Tank and Earth Law Center.
Annual Revenue: $1,775,402 (2017)
Total Assets $1,289,362 (2017)
Major Donors (total contributions 2012-present)
The Ceres Trust $1,495,000
Marisla Foundation $810,000
Schmidt Family Foundation $475,000
The California Endowment $200,500
True North Foundation $150,000
David B. Gold Foundation $100,000
United Natural Foods Foundation $77,500
Warsh Mott Legacy $40,000
Contribution totals only reflect publicly reported donors and may not include significant contributions from corporations, litigators and governments, domestic and foreign, through percent of sales agreements and allocations through various arrangements such as state lotteries and aid programs. Many claims by nonprofit organizations that they receive no contributions from governments or corporations are misleading or false.