There are always two sides to every story. I want you to keep that in mind throughout my post today. Last night, I was invited to Monsanto as part of an exclusive St. Louis bloggers group to learn more about Monsanto. Monsanto is a sustainable agriculture company who delivers agricultural products that support farmers (large and small) all around the world.
I feel like many people, especially in this healthy living blogging community, are quick to say organic is best and say no to GMO. However, I wonder how many of those people really and truly understand what that means? I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve definitely said (written) some of those very words. As I had the opportunity to learn about Monsanto and what exactly they do, itz safe to say my mind is changing. Really, itz because I’m simply becoming more educated.
There are always two sides to every story. People who preach organic or no to GMO are obviously strong believers in what they are saying. On the flip side, people at Monsanto are so incredibly passionate about what they do, about the seeds they produce, about the farmers they sell to, and about the ground that grows your food.
Quick Fact: Monsanto was first started in St. Louis in 1901 by a man named John Queeny. For my St. Louis friends, this is the same man who founded Queeny park. The name Monsanto comes from his wife’s maiden name. Since 1901, Monsanto has expanded drastically and now has research labs in twelve different locations throughout the world. The St. Louis Monsanto, where I was last night, sits on 200 acres of land and employs over 3,500 people. There is a second Monsanto location in Chesterfield which has an additional 1,000 employees.
Monsanto employees are highly intelligent. They are so incredibly smart and passionate about what they do and that was evident last night. They wanted to answer any and all questions we had and were eager to share their knowledge with us. They backed up their facts with studies… not paid for by Monsanto, but thousands and thousands of studies. They were thoughtful with their words, respectful to others’ opinions, and many people who I spoke to last night had been with Monsanto for quite some time.
A woman who worked for Monsanto shared an interesting (and slightly comical) story about GMO. Now there is this huge non-GMO craze going on as evident by any grocery story and the products who display that badge. She spoke of how one variety of Himalayan salt was non-GMO. A couple Monsanto employees began chuckling while she explained to us, salt can’t be modified. So when you see the non-GMO tag, take into consideration the facts.
Do you know what kind of seeds these are? Can you pick out the very best seed?
They’re cucumber seeds, and now thanks to sophisticated technology, scientists can pick out the very best seed. That technically means they’re GMO (genetically modified organisms). Gary, our wonderful tour guide who has been with Monsanto for over forty years, explained that this process can be compared to an iPhone. When you add an app, you’re not changing the iPhone. Itz not a Blackberry, itz not an Android, itz still an iPhone. It just has better features and is more efficient. The same goes with Monsanto’s seeds. They’re not changing the corn. Corn is still corn. The DNA of corn has been carefully chosen in order to produce more sustainable crops.
I learned so much more than this and plan on sharing the information with you, particularly about corn chipping as that was a completely new concept to me. However, I don’t want to overload you on information today, so I’m going to wrap up my scattered thoughts.
I’ve begun to open my eyes and learn the facts before forming an opinion. I’m not saying eat only GMO nor am I saying don’t eat any GMO. I’m just saying that there is a lot of misinformation out there and you have to be careful with what you read or hear. Go straight to the source. In fact, the St. Louis Monsanto hosts over 19,000 tours every year! They’re very willing and wanting to share their knowledge and information with you without trying to convert you to believe in what they do.
There is still more I want to learn and still have questions about. I feel more confident in knowing how seeds are “modified,” but am still curious about pesticides and how plants are grown. I’m curious about last effects of GMOs and the research regarding this.
Something interesting that a couple Monsanto employees were talking about was that many people who have opinions on GMOs have never seen true hunger. Many of these Monsanto employees spend considerable time in Africa and India – places where real hunger is prevalent and people are using one small plot of land to feed their entire hungry. This is why scientists try to find the very best seed to sell them. They want seeds that are resistant to droughts and insects, etc. I found this perspective neat and thought-provoking and something that hit home for me. Itz true: I’ve never experienced real hunger. I’m allowed to be choosey with my food. If I didn’t have the option, I may feel differently. Food for thought…
How do you feel about GMOs? Why?
*I was not paid by nor was I even asked to write anything about Monsanto. I’d just like to create dialogue about a topic which I knew very little about and was personally misinformed before. Please be respectful with your comments as we all have our own opinions and are entitled to do so.