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GMO vs. Organic Food: Top 100 Influencers and Brands

by | Oct 28, 2015 | Influencer Lists,

GMO stands for “genetically modified organism” and uses biotechnology to alter plant DNA, making certain crops resistant to pesticides and other chemicals so that farmers can more easily protect their crops from diseases and pests. Scientists make GMOs by taking the plant, and adding DNA from bacteria, virus or another plant to it. The plant structure has now been changed so it can be stronger and more resistant to disease or bugs, or benefit us by having a better taste, medicinal properties or longer shelf life. This process results in faster production of consumable and sellable food.

GMO is considered the big beast in the food health discussion, it raises sincere concerns over what they do to our body, especially toxic herbicides. The long-term effects of many synthetic substances are not known. The growing popular alternative to GMOs and chemically-treated food is buying organic. It is a popular view that the goodness and nutrients we receive from food should be natural and not tampered with. It must be stressed however that although chemicals are used on GMO seeds, GMO and chemical application to food are two separate issues. Processed meat for example can be organic from source but then chemically treated later.

GM foods are almost impossible to avoid. In the US up to 80% of processed foods are genetically modified, but they are not always clearly labelled. In 2014, Vermont became the first state to require mandatory GMO labelling, however in response to this an anti-GMO labeling bill was passed and will be introduced in the Senate soon. Dubbed the DARK act (“Deny Americans the Right-to-Know”) this law would block state GMO labeling and make it virtually impossible for the FDA to develop a national GMO labelling system. This has caused much outrage with people demanding the right to know what is in their food. Wherever you stand on the GMO vs. Organic debate, it’s important that you are allowed to make you own choices.


We reached out to some of the top influencers identified on our list to ask them for their views on the GMO vs. Organic food debate.  We spoke to the Author Jennifer Lang (#1), the founder of Kids Right to Know Rachel Parent (#3), Kevin Folta from The University of Florida (#4), the journalist Michael Gray from Common Space and The National (#7), and Tamar Haspel from The Washington Post (#11). Be sure to follow them to stay up to date on their stories! (click on the names to see their Twitter profiles)
Jennifer Lang - Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food: TOp 100 Influencers and Brands


Jennifer Lang – GMO Activist & Author of “The Whistle-Blower’s Confession”


“People don’t realize how something as beneficial as food can be used as a weapon to enslave generations…..If GMOs came in like tanks…rolling down our streets, we would take up arms. But to “secretly” slip them into a nation’s food supply and tell everyone…that they are good for you…is diabolical. And moreover, once the people become educated and ‘opt-out’ of their GMO experiment, their cries are silenced  and ignored with more corporate propaganda and political coercion. For the handful of organic farmers who fight to stay alive and afloat in the biggest  cafeteria food fight on earth,  I applaud them. Government goes to great lengths to make them jump through all these hoops, just to “prove” that their foods are organic, whereas The World Health Organization has stated that the number 1 weed killer used on GMO crops probably causes cancer and government does nothing to ban them. Our generation has one hope and one mission…..choose NON-GMO Verified foods and eat Organic. Then unseat every political candidate that chooses to vote for a corporation’s  bottom line rather than vote to save the lives of the people who elected them. Our revolution/evolution starts with our consumer dollars and ends with our votes at the polls.”

Rachel Parent Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food Top 100 Influencers and Brands


Rachel Parent – Founder of Kids Right to Know


“It’s been about two decades since genetically modified crops were first commercialized in North America by a handful of profit driven chemical companies. In that time, there’s been a lot of debate about their potential environmental and health impacts, their so called “improved yields”, their contamination of Organic and non-GM crops, the corporate control that accompanies them, and their need to “feed the world.”  The truth is, GM crops have not improved yields, they’ve led to a dramatic increase in the use of pesticides,  mass production of GM Crops for animal feed and factory farming, becoming one of the top contributors to Global warming, farmers have lost their farms fighting big corporations, and we’re no closer to “feeding the world” with GMOs than we were two decades ago.  In reality, we produce enough food today to feed 9 Billion people. People go hungry because of poverty, broken distribution systems, corrupt governments, and waste, not because of lack of food.  It’s a matter of political will, not technology. Teaching people organic farming in small communities around the world, giving them control of their seed supply and access to markets will feed the world, not GMOs. By choosing Organic or Non GMO products, we are contributing to the regeneration of our earth. Our socially responsible and ethical goal, must be to leave the earth, better than we found it.”


Kevin Folta Jennifer Lang - Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food: TOp 100 Influencers and Brands


 Kevin Folta – Professor at the University of Florida



“Good agricultural technology can be organic or GMO. Our focus should be to get the best technologies to farmers and the needy so that they may produce food sustainably.”

Tamar Haspel - Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food: Top 100 Influencers and Brands


 Tamar Haspel – The Washington Post



“There shouldn’t be a debate between GMOs and organic agriculture because they ought to co-exist.  We’ve got a population of seven billion people, and every single one of them has to eat.  To feed them, and the billions slated to join them in the next couple of decades, we need to identify, and use, the best of every agricultural system on the planet.  The GMO/organic line in the sand leads nowhere. A responsible, wholesome food supply needs cooperation and collaboration. Urgently.”

Michael Gray - Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food Top 100 Influencers and Brands


 Michael Gray – The Common Space / The National



“Ideally, an effective food system would be healthy, locally produced with a fair distribution of goods. The problem with genetic modification is not the science, which has many advocates, but the nature of its political economy. Dominated by giant profit hungry corporations like Monsanto, empowering GM based produce allows the roots of a debt and profit based food economy to dig deeper into an area that should be focused on human health and security. In a world of starvation, we need technological innovation. But it’s crucial that such progress is built on economic justice.”


We were very interested in seeing which professionals and brands were leading the online discussion, so we analysed over 760K tweets matching the following query: #GMO OR GMO OR “Genetically Modified Organism” OR GMOs OR NoGMO OR “Organic food” OR “Organic crops” OR Monsanto OR “Genetically Modified Crops” OR “Genetically Modified” OR “GM Crops” and identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter. We discovered a very engaged community, with much discussion between individuals and brands, joining together in conversations. Below you can see a network map of the online conversation created with our Influencer Relationship Management software IRM. This map shows the #3 Influencer Rachel Parent, founder of Kids Right to Know and writer for the Huffington Post at the centre, and the conversations to and from the influencers in her field.


Network Map - Rachel Parent. Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food Top 100 Influencers and Brands


Be sure to click on the map to enjoy the full size network diagram in greater detail!



Below you can see another network map created in IRM showing the #1 brand Just Label It at the centre, and the conversations to and from the different influencers. As you can see it is a very engaged community with many conversations. If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click here to get in touch!


Network Map - Just label It. Onalytica GMO vs Organic Food Top 100 Influencers and Brands



We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top 100 most influential individuals in the GMO vs. Organic Food debate.

Be sure to hit the download button below to grab the full report and see who ranks beyond the top 50.

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RankTwitter HandleNameOrganisationInfluencer Score
1@jlang10001Jennifer LangFreelance Author100
2@saletanWill SaletanSlate49.75
3@RachelsNewsRachelKids Right to Know37.9
4@kevinfoltaKevin FoltaUniversity of Florida37.56
5@garyruskinGary RuskinU.S. RIGHT TO KNOW28.5
6@michaelpollanMichael PollanFreelance Author23.43
7@GrayInGlasgowMichael GrayThe Common Space / The National18.09
8@drvandanashivaDr. Vandana ShivaInternational Forum on Globalization17.07
9@mark_lynasMark LynasFreelance Author15.39
10@RealAlexJonesAlex JonesInfowars14.46
11@TamarHaspelTamar HaspelThe Washington Post12.93
12@RobbFraleyRobb FraleyMonsanto12.64
13@mercolaDr. Joseph MercolaMercola11.86
14@chelliepingreeChellie PingreeUnited States House of Representatives11.72
15@annalappeAnna LappéSmall Planet Institute11.43
16@keithkloorkeith kloorFreelance Writer11.22
17@foodawakeningsRobyn O’BrienAllergy Kids11.16
18@chucknicecomicChuck NiceStar Talk10.79
19@AgBioWorldC. S. PrakashAgBioWorld10.63
20@mem_somervillemem_somervilleIndependent Researcher9.56
21@RichardLochheadRichard LochheadThe Scottish National Party9.46
22@JeffereyJaxenJefferey JaxenIndependent Journalist9.23
23@tracyldickersonTraybirdLiberal Democrats8.82
24@tomcolicchioTom ColicchioChef8.61
25@ErinSchrodeErin SchrodeTurning Green8.15
26@tomphilpottTom PhilpottMaverick Farms8.04
27@DaniNierenbergDanielle NierenbergFood Tank7.93
28@dhlovelifeDaryl HannahDHLoveLife7.76
29@RobinWiggRobin WigglesworthThe Financial TIme7.64
30@Gary_HirshbergGary HirshbergStonyfield Farm7.56
31@SavorToothNathanael JohnsonGrist7.45
32@KariHamerschlagKari HamerschlagFriends of the Earth7.16
33@ksenapathyKavin SenapathyFreelance Writer7.1
34@mslopattoElizabeth LopattoThe Verge6.57
35@MadeleineLoveMadeleine LoveIndependent Researcher6.55
36@MichaelBTIMike ShellenbergerBreakthrough Institute6.52
37@chuckabbott1Charles AbbottThe Fern6.1
38@AnneGlover_EUAnne GloverAberdeen University6.02
39@GlobalEcoGuyJon FoleyCalifornia Academy of Sciences5.98
40@robedwards53Rob EdwardsFreelance Journalist5.9
41@prometheusgreenVal GiddingsITIF5.85
42@bendreyfussBen DreyfussMother Jones5.62
43@rsaikRobert Saik, PAg,CACAgri-Trend & Agri-Data5.35
44@VanceCroweVance CroweMonsanto5.33
45@VibeHiAli Hannibal Shakur™Hannibal is at the Gate5.18
46@WyoWeedsAndrew KnissWeed Control Freaks5.17
47@calestousCalestous JumaHarvard Kennedy School5.14
48@RachelFeltmanRachel FeltmanWashington Post5.13
49@amy_harmonAmy HarmonThe New York Times5.08
50@LangBanksLang Banks, WWFWorld Wildlife Fund5.03


With all the discussion and resources available online, our analysis produced a great set of independent information resources and communities. Influential brands such as Just Label It, Monsanto Slate and GM Watch are leading the debate.

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RankTwitter HandleNamePageRank (Normalised)
1@justlabelitJust Label It100
2@MonsantoCoMonsanto Company66.67
7@food_democracyFood Democracy Now!36.51
9@Monsanto_ARMonsanto Argentina35.19
10@GMOFreeUSAGMO Free USA29.59
11@TrueFoodNowCenter 4 Food Safety27.9
13@OrganicConsumerOrganic Consumers24.53
15@thefoodbabeFood Babe17.57
16@foe_usFriends of the Earth17.34
17@CivilEatsCivil Eats16.83
18@GlobeOpinionBoston Globe Opinion16.68
21@foodandwaterFood & Water Watch14.26
23@GeneticLiteracyGenetic Literacy12.91
24@MotherJonesMother Jones12.56
25@GMOInsideGMO Inside11.96
27@Food_TankFood Tank10.63
28@SafeAffordableSafe Affordable Food10.36
29@TheAntiMedia1The Anti Media10.33
30@FPActionFood Policy Action9.87
31@franknfoodeFrank N. Foode9.72
32@GMOjournalGMO Journal9.55
33@USRightToKnowUS Right To Know9.31
34@Stop_MonsantoStopMonsanto #NoTTIP9.28
35@benandjerrysBen & Jerry’s9.23
37@DrBronnerDr. Bronner’s8.85
38@green4EMAEnviro. Media Assoc.8.46
40@ConsumersUnionConsumers Union8.25
42@TakeThatGMOsTake That, GMOs!8.06
43@OrganicTradeOrganic Trade8.04
46@TurningGreenOrgTurning Green7.47
47@techreviewMIT Tech Review6.82
49@7W1773RS70RMSAY NO 2 #GMO6.64
50@ConsumersKenyaCOFEK ConsumersKenya6.52


Influencer Marketing campaigns generate impressive results, the average earned media value (EMV) from US influencer marketing programs was 1.4 times higher in H1 2015 than the overall average in full-year 2014. At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Machine to Machine, Wearable TechInternet of Things) be sure to have a gander on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on twitter? We also build some very cool software to manage all of these influencers. Get a free demo today by clicking the button below!

Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking is by no means a definitive measurement of influence, as there is no such thing. The brands and individuals listed are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around the GMO vs Organic food debate. The PageRank based methodology we use to extract influencers on a particular topic takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives. These calculations are independent of a user’s number of followers, but we do filter our lists based on how much a user is engaged in the conversation and the influence they drive through their networks.





Download this free report which reveals the top 100 GMO vs. organic food influencers and brands