By Jim Hightower on February 14, 2014

Years ago the delightfully-naughty movie star, Mae West, said: "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

Less delightful are some of the purity claims of such food manufacturing giants as PepsiCo, which has long marketed a line of its Frito-Lay snack foods as "Simply Natural." Natural? Anyone who's even looked at one of the company's strangely-puffed, caterpillaresque, cheese-powdered, "Cheetos" would have a hard time believing nature had anything to do with the concoctions. Sure enough, PepsiCo has quietly dropped the volatile "natural" claim from its snack packages, rebranding them with just the word "Simply."

The multibillion-dollar food maker says the shift is merely a routine adjustment of its marketing scheme -- but it comes only after consumer groups have taken Pepsi, Campbell Soup, and other manufactures to court in the past couple of years, successfully challenging their use of the "natural" phrase as deceptive hype.

PepsiCo settled one of its cases last year by paying out $9 million to the challengers and agreeing to stop labeling its Naked Juice brand as "all natural." A marketing pitch for these drinks had bragged that they were "the freshest, purest stuff in the world." The naked truth, however, was that they were not only juiced up with artificial vitamins and synthetic fibers, but also included an additive made from formaldehyde -- a cancer-causing compound.

The conglomerates say that advertising terms like "natural" are widely-misunderstood by us stupid consumers. Well, there they go again, drifting from the truth and perverting plain English. "Natural" simply means what it says: Natural. As in, go squeeze an orange, and don't dose it with formaldehyde and lies. To keep up with the industry's drift from purity, link up with Organic Consumers Association: www.organicconsumers.org.

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Photo: Flickr user James Lee, creative commons licensed.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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