SAN DIEGO, Calif --He’s given more money to the Yes On I-522 campaign than anyone else, but like most large contributors to both sides of the controversial issue, David Bronner isn’t in Washington.
Bronner co-owns Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a quirky, family business that makes organic, fair-trade soaps. He’s responsible for more than $2 million of the $6 million the Yes On I-522 campaign has raised.
“You can’t just fight these guys off with grassroods,” Bronner explained from his Escondido, Calif., factory, “You have to be able to fight the air war. You have to be able to fight ad-to-ad combat. On that level, we can come in and help.”
Initiative 522 would label genetically modified foods. The opposition includes some of the largest multi-national corporations in the country, including Monsanto and Dow Chemical. The groups opposed to I-522 have raised around $22 million so far.
Bronner’s company follows in the footsteps of grandfather Dr. Emanuel Bronner. Dr. Bronner used the soap as a vehicle to spread his “All-One” message.
David Bronner has taken up the activist mantle, leading efforts to limit government restrictions on hemp production (hemp oil is a component of Dr. Bronner’s soap). Bronner was handcuffed twice outside of federal buildings during protests.
Last year, he was a large contributor to Proposition 37, a California initiative that also would have labeled genetically modified foods. The measure failed narrowly after the mainstream food industry poured millions into the campaign against it.
Bronner said he isn’t opposed to GMOs in principle, but he is against the practice of large companies using the technology to “blast more weed killer on our crops”.
“In America, we have a fundamental right to know what’s in our food,” he continued, “Wherever we’re buying it.”