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Colin Todhunter – Pesticides, GMOs and corporate control: The poster child is Monsanto but Neil Young is the main act

Neil Young has a long history of activism. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid, which works to support small and family farmers in North America, while his song Ohio is often considered to be one of the greatest protest songs ever made. Last year, Young pledged a $100,000 donation to Vermont’s legal fight against the GMO-labelling lawsuit, and he has recently been involved in putting together a new website that will help people engage with issues such as GMOs, farming, ecology, justice and climate change (access the site here).

His new albums The Monsanto Years (2015) and Earth (2016) have a strong anti-corporate theme running through them and feature songs exploring global hunger, pesticides, GMOs, seeds and ecology. Young spent part of 2015 touring the US. The tour was different from the usual concert tour because it was accompanied by an ‘activist village’ comprising a coalition of leading non-profit organisations housed in numerous tents.

These organisations travelled with Young and his band to raise awareness and educate concert-goers about the deleterious impacts of industrial agriculture, environmental issues and the negative impact of corporate control of government. The tours gave a diverse group of NGOs involved in ecology and social justice issues an opportunity to reach out to the public with their message and materials.

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