Case Studies» The Monsanto Challenge

Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, produces several varieties of corn grown from genetically modified seeds. Without a law requiring the labeling of GMOs, consumers have no way of knowing whether the corn they purchase has been genetically modified by companies like Monsanto to contain a pesticidal bacteria known as BT Toxin.

So Art Not War joined local MoveOn activists in Northampton, Massachusetts to stage “The Monsanto Challenge.” Remember the Pepsi Challenge? Back in the ‘70s Pepsi filmed live commercials asking people on the street to sample two types of cola and choose which one they liked best. For the “Monsanto Challenge,” ordinary folks were asked to sample two ears of corn—one from a local organic farm and one containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) spliced with BT Toxin. Well, funnily enough, nobody had the courage to risk eating BT Toxin.

(SPOILER ALERT: all the corn was actually from an organic farm—”The Monsanto Challenge” was really a fun way to educate the public on GMOs and Massachusetts’ fight for a law to fairly label their foods).

“The Monsanto Challenge” was so popular online that it spurred numerous copycat events throughout the northeast.