Star Wars' spoof pits organic vs "the dark side" (16/5/2005)

To see the video:

Note our old friend Kimball Nill's contribution to this article and how his claims are directly contradicted by the research of Dr Chuck Benbrook, a former Executive Director of the Board on Agriculture of the U.S. National Academy, which shows that GM crops have increased the use of pesticides over all in recent years.

For more on Nill:

For where he gets many of his claims:

Star Wars' spoof pits organic vs. conventional
By Elizabeth Weis
USA TODAY, 15 May 2005

[image caption: Heavy on the Ham: Solo and his friends battle the evil Darth Tater.]

Marketers for M&Ms, Diet Pepsi and Frito-Lay are betting millions that ad tie-ins with the opening of the latest Star Wars movie will sell lots of junk food.

But the Force may well be with a tiny upstart called Store Wars: The Organic Rebellion, an online video that's been flying around the Internet since Tuesday and so far has been seen by more than 168,000 viewers.

A project of the National Organic Trade Association, the five-minute video is aimed at selling a broad audience on the virtues of organic food.

"We wanted something light-hearted and positive," says spokeswoman Barbara Haumann.

Store Wars ( features a supermarket cast of thousands - vegetables, fruits, pastries and some canned goods - and tells the story of the battle between those who follow the organic "way of the Farm" and those who've gone "to the dark side" - growing conventional and genetically engineered crops.

Filmed on location at two San Francisco-area natural-foods stores, the movie includes massed Imperial stormtroopers that look suspiciously like eggs, X-Wing starfighters highly reminiscent of plastic sushi containers with wings and a Death Melon that splatters orange goo and seeds when destroyed.

Ham Solo and Chewbroccoli pilot the Millennium Scallion, Cuke Skywalker saves Princess Lettuce, and TofuD2 scurries around as the enigmatic Yogurt tells viewers "when the market you visit, keep your family safe as you can by buying organic."

The video is a creation of Free Range Graphics, the same design and communications firm that created last year's award-winning The Meatrix, a popular anti-meat, pro-vegetarian takeoff on The Matrix.

Both depend on low-budget Internet "viral" or "contagious" marketing to be seen. The idea is to create something cool enough that people will distribute it themselves by e-mailing the link to their friends.

Though amusing, Store Wars' message is misleading, says Kimball Nill, technical director of the American Soybean Association. This year 93% of soybeans planted in the USA were genetically engineered, he says.

That allowed farmers "to reduce the total amount of herbicides applied to the land and reduce soil erosion to nearly zero by using no-till planting. So, frankly, it's been a good thing," Nill says.

Ford Runge, a professor at the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy at the University of Minnesota, doesn't want to come across as a spoilsport. But, he says, making out organic food to be good and conventional food evil is wrong.

"Organic is compelling conventional growers to think carefully about what they put on their crops, and that's all to the good," he says. "But the conclusion isn't that people who use conventional methods are wrong. They're just doing something different."


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