Today, the nation's major sustainable food writers and bloggers will converge on Monterey, CA for an incredible invite-only sustainable food conference. The event, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions, which those who attend say is spectacular, has a new sponsor this year: Kellogg Garden Products. Yes, that Kellogg Garden Products. The very same company that has contaminated "organic" school gardens in Los Angeles with sewage sludge. The company's Chief Sustainability Officer, Kathy Kellogg Johnson, has a knack for befriending "green" organizations and using them to promote her toxic, misleadingly labeled products to unsuspecting gardeners. In this case, she's listed as a "Silver Sponsor." How much did her company pay to give her such a nice platform, sitting on a panel with Grist's sustainable food writer Tom Philpott and telling an all-media audience about the sustainability of Kellogg Garden Products?
Jill Richardson :: Why is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Greenwashing Sewage Sludge?
Last week, I wrote to Monterey Bay Aquarium, informing them that Kellogg Garden Products sells compost made with sewage sludge, with the slogan "Quality organics since 1925" on the label. After a few brief replies and a little prodding, here is the reply I received from Alison Barratt on Friday, May 13:
We were not actually aware of these allegations until you raised them. We met Kellogg at the EMA awards last year, and know that EMA vets all of its associates very carefully. They were independently invited to be a sponsor and speaker at the event. We do not offer a place on our panels to sponsors; we look for speakers with an interesting story to tell, and we believe this is an interesting story.
Having spoken at length with Kellogg yesterday regarding your allegations, we are perfectly comfortable with our decision to invite Kathy Kellogg Johnson to the event, and to have them as a sponsor.