Crops held hostage

How Monsanto developed its stranglehold on the nation’s food supply

The full version of this story originally appeared in the Village Voice. To read it go to

When you’re good at something, you want to leverage that. Monsanto’s specialty is killing stuff. In the early years, the biotech giant helped pioneer such leading chemicals as DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. Unfortunately, these breakthroughs had a tendency to kill stuff. And the torrent of lawsuits that comes from random killing put a crimp in long-term profitability.

So Monsanto hatched a less lethal, more lucrative plan: The company would attempt to take control of the world’s food supply.