GMO

GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change

Jul 12, 2015
A storm hovers over an Illinois rural landscape on May 29, 2015. Extreme weather is likely to become more common in the Midwest under climate change conditions, according to researchers and federal reports.
Darrell Hoemann | Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Twenty years ago, less than 10 percent of corn and soybean acres in the United States were planted with genetically engineered seeds, the type of biotechnology now commonly known as GMOs.

Farmers have rushed to adopt the engineered seeds since then, in part because of climate change concerns.

About 70 people protested against Monsanto outside the Missouri Botanical Garden Saturday, May 23, 2015. They want the garden to stop accepting money from the agri-business company.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Botanical Garden visitors were greeted by flashes of color even before they saw Chinese lantern displays Saturday morning. About 70 anti-Monsanto protesters lined the sidewalks outside the garden, some carrying 3-D monarch butterfly props. One protester brought along a dog in a bee costume.

“We find it really hypocritical that a garden, which is by the way a beautiful garden, and that has in its mission to promote sustainability, is receiving large amounts of funds from an herbicide producer,” protest organizer Aubrey Yarbrough explained. Yarbrough is an organic farmer with GMO Free Midwest.

Microbiologist Mary-Dell Chilton works in her lab at Syngenta.
Syngenta

Mary-Dell Chilton pioneered the field of genetic engineering in agriculture.

She has spent most of her decades-long career working for Syngenta, where she founded the agribusiness company's research on genetically modified seeds.

But Chilton started out in academia. And it was here in St. Louis, at Washington University, that she led the team that created the first genetically-modified plants in the early 1980s.

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

When you ask people what they think of Monsanto, it doesn’t take long for the four-letter word to come out.

"I hate Monsanto," Jackie King said emphatically, while shopping at the farmer’s market in Tower Grove Park.

King said she doesn’t like GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, that Monsanto helped pioneer in the 1980s. The subject of GMOs came up a lot, but shoppers at the market looking over locally-grown vegetables voiced a lot of concerns about the company, from patented seeds to its impacts on small farmers.

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto launched a new national advertising campaign Wednesday that focuses on something everyone can relate to: food.

It’s part of an effort at Monsanto to improve the St. Louis-based company’s image. Earlier this year the Harris Poll on corporate reputations ranked Monsanto third worst in the country, just behind BP.

GMO Critics Protest At Monsanto Headquarters

May 25, 2014
Monsanto protest
St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of demonstrators protested outside Monsanto’s corporate headquarters in Creve Coeur Saturday.

They called for the agriculture biotech company to end practices they say are harmful to the environment and abusive of the rights of farmers. That includes Monsanto’s development and control of genetically modified, or GMO, crops.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon)

Ten protesters were arrested outside Monsanto’s headquarters during its annual shareholder meeting Tuesday. The arrests happened shortly after the shareholders failed to pass two resolutions that would have changed Monsanto's policies on its Genetically Modified Organism products.

Adam Eidinger, one of the protesters, is also a Monsanto shareholder.

He proposed one of the resolutions. It asked that Monsanto work with the Federal Drug Administration to label genetically modified food.

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto is no stranger to battling the controversy over Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs.  Some of that controversy will come to Monsanto’s doorstep Tuesday afternoon during the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Several groups have promised to protest outside the meeting, where two resolutions dealing with GMOs are likely to be introduced.

One resolution asks that the company work with the federal government to develop GMO labeling on food.

I have a story on All Things Considered Wednesday (click on the audio link above to hear it) about the campaign to put labels on food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The idea is gaining ground in the Northeast — Maine and Connecticut passed labeling laws this summer, though they won't take effect unless more states do the same. And GMO labeling is on the ballot this November in Washington state.

The strange case of genetically engineered wheat on a farm in Oregon remains as mysterious as ever. If anything, it's grown more baffling.

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

A Monsanto researcher is one of the winners of the 2013 World Food Prize.

Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley will share the international honor with Mary-Dell Chilton of Syngenta and Belgian plant scientist Marc Van Montagu.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and local activist groups plan to mark the occasion by protesting biotechnology giant Monsanto.

Barbara Chicherio is with the Gateway Green Alliance, which opposes genetically modified organisms developed by St. Louis based Monsanto and other biotech companies.

She said tomorrow's protests will represent a shift within the Occupy movement to focus on specific issues.

(via Flickr/A Comment)

Monsanto is leading the fight to block a California ballot initiative that would require labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients.

(via Monsanto)

A coalition of organic farmers and grower organizations has filed an appeal in its lawsuit challenging Monsanto seed patents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it has decided to allow unrestricted commercial planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa.

The alfalfa has been genetically-engineered to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup.