Hugh Grant

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.

(courtesy Monsanto)

Monsanto is committing $1 million to support Ferguson and surrounding north St. Louis County communities.

Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said Monsanto took its time and tried to strike the right balance between donating to short-term and long-term initiatives.

"[The non-profits] are also a balance of agencies we’ve worked with for many, many years and also some new initiatives that I think have tremendous potential to make change in the long-term," Grant said.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Building on the success and popularity of Pepsi Refresh and similar programs, Monsanto has launched its own competitive grants for St. Louis-area non-profits.

"We're asking St. Louis to nominate, and subsequently to vote on their favorite schools, their favorite agencies, their favorite non-profits," said Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant at Tuesday's announcement of the Grow St. Louis program. "They'll have the opportunity through that voting system to win a grant. It's kind of like American Idol without the music."