Monsanto Fund, American Heart Association, Nemours Announce Joint Effort to Improve Food Access, Promote Nutrition

Five-Year, $3.9 million pilot program to reach 120 early care centers in the St. Louis region

While U.S. food security improved last year, approximately 3 million American households were unable at times to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To address malnutrition and food insecurity impacting young children (birth to age 5), the Monsanto Fund (the philanthropic division of Monsanto No. 43 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity) is supporting Healthy Food Alliance for Early Education, a joint program of the American Heart Association and Nemours, with a five-year, $3.9 million pilot program in the St. Louis region.


Healthy Way to Grow, an initiative started in 2013 to improve nutrition by addressing childhood obesity, is expanding to include more than 120 early care centers and education programs in the St. Louis region. As a new component of the program, Healthy Food Alliance for Early Education will assess challenges related to "food deserts" and help parents identify nutritious food within their communities, as well as provide tools and resources to support healthy food environments at home.

"The American Heart Association is committed to helping all Americans lead heart-healthy lives and recognizes that helping children develop healthy habits today can lead to a healthier America in the future," said Dr. Michael Lim, Board President of the American Heart Association, St. Louis. "By working with early care centers throughout St. Louis, Healthy Food Alliance for Early Education will ensure healthy practices are implemented in these centers every day, with a special focus on proper nutrition. AHA is pleased to work with organizations like Nemours, a non-profit children's health system, and Monsanto Fund to make a positive impact on children in St. Louis."

By increasing access to healthy food and promoting healthy eating in both early care centers and home environments, the pilot program aims to improve the nutritional health of more than 18,000 children. If successful, the findings could be replicated beyond St. Louis.

"Malnutrition impacts children and families around the world, whether through under nutrition, nutritional deficiencies or the growing global problem of obesity. By providing increased access to healthy foods during those important first years of life, Healthy Food Alliance for Early Education addresses the double burden of malnutrition and lays the foundation for children to carry healthy eating habits into adulthood," said Al Mitchell, President, Monsanto Fund.

"Monsanto Fund's support for this program extends beyond the farm as we work with dietitians, non-profits and others in the food supply chain to increase the availability, access and consumption of a variety of protein sources, fruits and vegetables," said Mitchell. "Teaming with the American Heart Association will help us better understand how to encourage healthy diets among consumers, identify obstacles to healthy eating and provide assistance to children and families who need help."

For more information about the program, including resources for early childhood programs, parents and families, visit www.healthywaytogrow.org.

Monsanto Company Awards $500,000 Grant to T-REX to Support New Resource Center for Geospatial Innovation

Currently more than 200 small companies and start-ups are housed at T-REX, which is also located about two miles away from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

In its continued support of geospatial innovation, Monsanto Company has awarded a $500,000 grant to T-REX, a St. Louis based non-profit business and technology incubator to support the creation of a new Geospatial Resource and Innovation Center.

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Monsanto and 2Blades Foundation Collaborate to Combat Devastating Soybean Disease


"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

Monsanto Company and charitable organization 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a new collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust (ASR). 2Blades will deliver resistance genes in further collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL, Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions, and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), a leading university in agricultural sciences in Brazil.

Asian soybean rust, a disease caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, results in yellowing and browning of soybean leaves and can lead to premature senesence and significant yield loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), P. pachyrhizi has spread rapidly and causes yield losses from 10 to 80% in Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.1

"Asian soybean rust is an ugly and expensive disease that can devastate farmers' harvests," said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto's biotechnology and ag productivity innovation lead. "Current fungicide treatments can provide some control, but farmers need more tools – and the 2Blades research could help provide a durable solution as part of an integrated pest-management system."

2Blades' mission is to contribute to global food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. By working with world-leading plant scientists, 2Blades seeks to discover new sources of disease resistance in nature and transfer them into important crops to extend the breadth of their immune system and secure yields.

"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL. "It is therefore exciting to see that our scientific expertise and knowledge on plant-microbe interactions will be combined with Monsanto's capacity to deliver solutions to farmers to tackle a key challenge in soybean cultivation."

"The management of soybean rust requires the integration of different approaches, including disease resistance. This collaboration will allow us to use cutting-edge technologies to speed up the identification of new resistance genes that can be used to deliver more sustainable solutions to soybean farmers, reducing the environmental and economic impact of ASR," said Prof. Sérgio H. Brommonschenkel at UFV.

In January 2017, Monsanto, 2Blades and The Sainsbury Laboratory announced a collaboration focused on tackling corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots that have the potential to significantly reduce yield. That research is ongoing and is independent of this new collaboration.

The ASR collaboration complements Monsanto's work to expand the global crop protection toolbox while enabling farmers to produce more with less of an impact on the environment. 2Blades retains rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for smallholder farmers in the least developed countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean is a crop of significant and increasing importance in Africa, with extraordinary nutritional, soil, and economic benefits. However, the presence of ASR throughout the African continent is a major factor limiting production.

Monsanto: Mark Edge on WEMA, the Fall Armyworm and farmers in Africa

Mark Edge, Director of Collaborations for Developing Countries at Monsanto, talks about WEMA, the initiative that uses Bt maize to eradicate a harmful pest and help smallholder farmers in Africa.

REUTERS

By Mark Edge

Originally Published by Monsanto.

My work at Monsanto over the years has offered me many new challenges – lately I'm working with a team on the complex issue of helping smallholder farmers in Africa get better seed to help them manage the threats to their maize crops.

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