Global food politics didn’t crop up on many albums last year, but it featured prominently on one: Georgia Anne Muldrow’s Seeds, the title track of which became known as a “diss track” to Monsanto, the infamous multinational agriculture company. Here the Las Vegas-based songwriter and record producer talks food, farming, and our environment of fear, giving us a lot more than two cents — pretty generous for an artist who admits she’s living paycheck to paycheck.
What I was trying to say [with Seeds] is, “How can we create a new cultural identity that thinks about the generations beyond it?” I wrecked so much of my life. That’s the reason I make this music, to heal. It’s not to come off as some type of self-righteous, I-never-done-anything-wrong kind of person. I’m a microcosm of this planet. I was taught that when you see trash on the street, you pick it up. I still do that. That’s the thing about the Earth — we have to share it. I look at places in Indonesia, like Java, and they look like a desert. They look like Las Vegas.
We have a food cartel, and Monsanto is the main thing. They have this really evil practice of licensing seeds. Like, “We’re gonna patent a seed.” Like, “I made it. I invented this seed.” No, you did not! How you gonna say you made a seed? You didn’t make no seed. These cats, these Monsanto people, promise, “This is gonna be this super thing — but first you gotta buy a license to plant our patented seed.” You’re a farmer, and now you gotta buy a damn license. And they force people into it. It’s a cartel. There’s a lot of farmers who’ve been physically intimidated, like with serious firepower — in this country!
Even our crops are slaves. They don’t even get the dignity of reproductive rights. Take a bag of apples. I buy an apple at the supermarket, and I have no connection with the farmer that created my food. I get my food from a supermarket because I live in Nevada and don’t nothing grow here. So here I am eating this apple, because this is the apple I can afford, and when I go to plant it, don’t nothing grow? Because they done patented something called a terminator seed? A single-crop seed?? What does that do for me? If you are what you eat, what kind of reality do I create for myself when my food doesn’t recreate itself? And how do you escape? [Some people] are like, “Everything I buy is fair trade.” I don’t got that kind of money! I’m living check to check.