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Published on February 14th, 2012 | by Beth Buczynski

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Epic Fail: Why Monsanto Is The Anti-Sustainable Agriculture Company

Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture

When I was little, my friend and I were talking with my mom about going apple picking. My friend seemed surprised by the idea that an orchard of trees was necessary to produce apples. My mom asked where her apples came from–and I’ll never forget her answer–

“I get my apples from the store.”

While there were just words from a child, the lack of food knowledge they demonstrated to me persists even to this day. Now not only do we not really know WHERE our food comes from, we have almost no idea HOW it’s grown or WHAT is used to protect it from insects and disease. This ignorance is perpetuated by companies like Monsanto, which make ridiculous profits off of the slow factorization of our food system.

On its website, biotech giant Monsanto claims that it is a company “committed to sustainable agriculture.” While these words might sound warm and fuzzy, you just have to survey Monsanto’s actions over the past few decades to know that it has no real understanding of they mean.

To finally cut through the PR propaganda once and for all, the Union of Concerned Scientists recently released a comprehensive report detailing the “Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture.”

Below are summaries of these eight points, proving that in fact Monsanto has held back the development of sustainable agriculture, and continues to do so. Click on the linked headers to read more on that topic.

#1: Promoting Pesticide Resistance

Monsanto’s RoundupReady and Bt technologies lead to resistant weeds and insects that can make farming harder and reduce sustainability.

#2: Increasing Herbicide Use

Roundup resistance has led to greater use of herbicides, with troubling implications for biodiversity, sustainability, and human health.

#3: Spreading Gene Contamination

Engineered genes have a bad habit of turning up in non-GE crops. And when this happens, sustainable farmers—and their customers—pay a high price.

#4: Expanding Monoculture

Monsanto’s emphasis on limited varieties of a few commodity crops contributes to reduced biodiversity and, as a consequence, to increased pesticide use and fertilizer pollution.

#5: Marginalizing Alternatives

Monsanto’s single-minded emphasis on GE fixes for farming challenges may come at the expense of cheaper, more effective solutions.

#6: Lobbying and Advertising

Monsanto outspends all other agribusinesses on efforts to persuade Congress and the public to maintain the industrial agriculture status quo.

#7: Suppressing Research

By creating obstacles to independent research on its products, Monsanto makes it harder for farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions that can lead to more sustainable agriculture.

#8: Falling Short on Feeding the World

Monsanto contributes little to helping the world feed itself, and has failed to endorse science-backed solutions that don’t give its products a central role.

Image Credit: Flickr – sierratierra


 




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About the Author

Beth believes many societal problems can be solved through sharing or other alternatives to the corporate system. I'm interested in exploring the growing collaborative consumption movement and how sharing is changing the way we work and play. See what I'm up to by following me on Twitter as @ecosphericblog.



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