The Monsanto-Permaculture Alliance: Committed To Sustainable Agriculture

Monsanto recently announced the formation of a new MPCA or Monsanto Permaculture Alliance. The MPCA was formed to transition Monsanto from an herbicide and GMO manufacturer into a leader in the organic agriculture movement. The MPCA plans to “turn Monsanto’s liabilities into assets” using Permaculture principles.

As one company executive stated, “After attending our first PDC or Permaculture Design Course, Monsanto realized that the problem is the solution… And that we are the problem.”

Permaculture, a natural design system with roots in Australia, was created by founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren  in the 1970’s.  There are now thousands of Permaculture projects around the globe that demonstrate how Permaculture principles can be used to design resilient, sustainable and diverse landscapes and human settlements.

While some have applauded Monsanto’s efforts, many industry observers have wondered whether it’s possible to transform what has been a GMO-producing, seed patenting, farmer-suing and herbicide manufacturing behemoth into a proponent of organic agriculture?  According to Monsanto, the answer is not only that’s it’s possible, but that it’s already happening.  As one representative for the company said, “We have the brains. We have the technology. We have the resources. The only thing missing is the knowledge and that’s why hundreds of Permaculture teachers are already on their way to Monsanto locations around the globe to teach our staff  how to work with nature, instead of against her.”

Started in 1901 Monsanto prospered after convincing the world that it was wise and necessary to poison its food supply with toxins. In 1969, Monsanto began its rise to the top with the best-selling herbicide Lasso and since then has dominated the world herbicide market with RoundUp.

Despite grossing million of dollars last year, not all has been rosy for the GMO giant lately.  New studies showing that RoundUp is much more damaging to human and ecosystem health than previously believed, heated debates over the safety and labeling of GMO food and negative press about their litigious habit of suing farmers have all made Monsanto a controversial company.

Monsanto will continue to work with farmers and crops, but in a more holistic way.  “After decades of study we have sadly concluded that Nature knows more than Monsanto. We hate to admit it, but research shows that organic regenerative agriculture modeled on natural systems is the best way to safely and efficiently feed our hungry world.”

What prompted the largest producer of patented seeds to turn to Permaculture? Like many great endeavors, it started with a dream. One of Monsanto’s top executives explains, “I had a nightmare where I had to arrest my own grandfather for saving seeds. If he was alive today, he probably would be sued by Monsanto- he was a farmer.  After the dream, which was really a nightmare, I sat up in bed and thought, ‘What the f*** are we doing?’  I couldn’t sleep, so I turned my computer on and started Googling terms like seed saving, organic farming and nature. That’s when I first saw the term Permaculture. After reading about the two week  Permaculture Design Course,  I was nervous- especially about the talent show, but  I signed up and and was the first in the company to complete my PDC.  At Monsanto, we claim to be committed to sustainable agriculture,  but after the course I realized what sustainable really means. Agriculture has to be regenerative or else it’s harmful. Who knew the soil was alive? Monsanto didn’t, but apparently a lot of other people did and that’s why we’ve formed our new board .”

The  MPCA Advisory Board will guide Monsanto in its transition from a conventional corporation to an organic one.

President- Wendell Berry

Vice PresidentVandana Shiva

Integrated Pest Management Coordinator- Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet

Soil Health Consultant- Dr. Elaine Ingham, Doug Weatherbee

Organic Agriculture Advisors-  Joel Salatin, Wes JacksonDarren DohertyRonnie Cummins

Livestock and Climate Change- Allan Savory, Abe Collins, Julious Piti, Peter Donovan

Clean Water Experts- Brock Dolman, Brad Lancaster

Permaculture Advisors- Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Penny LivingstonToby Hemenway and Larry Santoyo

Press- Michael Pollan

Monsanto also has a new Seven Point Plan based on the Permaculture Ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.
1.) Retribution– Monsanto will publicly apologize to the world for its previous rampant disregard for ecosystem, human and animal health and dedicate its vast resources to cleaning up the planet.
2.) Reimbursement– Farmers who were sued by Monsanto will be paid back in full, plus damages and interest.
3.) Toxic Waste Clean Ups– GM fields and adjoining waterways will be treated for contamination and restored using mycoremediation,  phytoremediation, bioremediation and permaculture.
4.) Organic Regenerative Farming-  Monsanto will study, promote and offer free trainings in the following land stewardship methods including, but not limited to: cover cropping, integrated pest management, low or no till plowing, composting, nontoxic weed control, aquaponics, biodynamic farming and rangeland management.
5.) Seed Bank– All of Monsanto’s seeds will be organically grown with all patents removed. Monsanto will donate money to organic seed banks around the world.
6.) GMO Free Zone Monsanto will no longer research, use or sell genetically modified organisms. The microscopes previously used for GM research will be re-purposed and used for studying microbes in the Soil Food Web.
7.) Zero Waste– Monsanto will be a zero waste company.

Now that Monsanto is convinced that regenerative organic agriculture is the best way to feed a hungry world, will other ag giants like Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta and Bayer follow?  Thanks to Permaculture and the newly formed MPCA, Monsanto’s claim to be “Committed to Sustainable Agriculture” will soon prove to be true.

Note: This is a satirical piece that I wrote about possibilities. This is not true.  It’s my vision of what could happen if bio-tech agriculture and Permaculture came together. In my experience Permaculture offers a new and more holistic way of seeing the world. I imagined what would happen if a Monsanto executive took a Permaculture course, had an epiphany about natural systems and became instrumental in changing the company’s direction. It wasn’t intended to mislead anyone about Monsanto, but was an attempt to use humor to help envision a better world.


19 Comments on “The Monsanto-Permaculture Alliance: Committed To Sustainable Agriculture”

  1. This should have been posted on April Fools day. I often wonder if Monsanto execs actually have a conscious or hear the voices of their grandparents admonishing them. Do they feel guilt ?… or are they so caught up in profit they just don’t care? Have they sold their souls to the devil? I guess in hell they will burn later. But in the mean time, we all pay the price … as will their children and grandchildren … do they consider that? I wonder what the divorce rate is among Monsanto reps. If my husband told me he was going to go work for the devil — I’d tell him he’ll be doing it alone!

  2. yes yes please write a book about using humor to envision a better world! or an anthology.. wow! I was almost peeing in my pants and rolling on the floor… this is insanely funny and I almost had that sense when everything seems right in the world, when I was almost but not quite gonna say, “Its a good day to die!” LOVE IT Jill, you are a genius!!!! the dream he had was sooooo funny!!! hugs to you…. Lets make a book.. lets do that with ll the things that are wrong.. like the US apologizing to Julian Assange and he becomes a nobel peace prize winner.. or NASA apologizes to John Searl for his work with magnetics who created and designed the first US “ufo” which was totally identified as a flying disc that was controllable…. or the heads of the corporate cineplexes around the country had a dream of what they were actually doing with young people with all the destructive and violence in the movies and started to show excellent dramatic and artistic documentaries that were revealing the necessary transition that we are all embarking on not only as a nation but as a planet… or the announcement that the US government has been lying about its UFO resources and material, the aliens, (22 different extraterrestrial species) the alien technology, the unveiling of what is necessary to unite as a human species to greet the new challenge of being with higher species of life from other worlds….. and on and on and on…. thanks JiLL !!!!!

  3. Well done Jill! It is true that we need to create positive visions, even if they seem far fetched. (And not take ourselves too seriouly!)
    I hope you are still doing your podcasts…havent seen any new ones lately. You do a great job of finding great subjects, people and inspiration! Keep up the good work!

  4. Pingback: Permaculture Basics For Gardeners | Sustainable World Radio

  5. To whom it may concern: I have just read a post on my website about Monsanto and from the looks of things there is always going to be a problem, perceived or otherwise, wherever insecticides or pest preventitives are used.
    Having raised fruit trees from seed and having suffered from the pest problem myself I know very well that there is no possibility of any kind of harvest if one turns a blind eye to their goings on. This was my response after unsuccessfully trying to raise the plants outside. Full metal jacket. Only raise seedlings indoors. Of course the pests migrate indoors and they are really sneaky. So, number two, post a watch. Make random swoops on the bags and inspect under the bags, on the inside of the bags, on the leaves, under the leaves and branches. Move the captured ones outside with a warning. The next platoon to invade gets it. Continue the watch until the seedlings have grown to about 2 metres high and been transplanted into a big bag. Move outside and surround with a protective screen of chicken wire, high enough so that goats cannot get it. Goats can stretch to about 3 metres or more when fully grown. When the tree has hardened off and grown to about 3 metres in its protected environment (covered with shade cloth), move it to its permanent location and ensure it is not planted too high on the ground, in other words, make sure it is planted deep enough for a trough to surround it. Good wishes, keep up the good work. Your website is looking nice. Will read it when there is a bit more time. Bottom line, maybe Monsanto should branch out into Pest Education of farmworkers and when people take personal responsibility for developing a close working relationship with nature then they will come to terms with the facts of life and that is, pests, mind your own business and allow me to mind mine. You have plenty out there, leave my crops alone and if you don’t watch out. That goes for the f+*&ng ! tree bandits who routinely jumped over my wall and stole the young trees out of the ground. The biggest most disgusting pests of all.

    • Thank you, Sakina for your great comment. I’d love to know what you are growing. Good luck keeping those pests away, especially the wall-hopping ones!!

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