GroundTruth Blog

GroundTruth: PAN's blog on pesticides, food & health

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

Walking past the ancient Roman Coliseum on my way to the recent International Symposium on Agroecology, the surprising twists of history were on my mind. Even a few years ago, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization — host of the symposium — would never have organized such a meeting. “Agroecology” was considered far too radical and dangerous a concept to many in FAO who had dedicated long careers to exporting the chemical-intensive “Green Revolution” model of agriculture around the world.

Yet there I was, along with 400 other scientists, agri-food system researchers, farmers and social movement leaders, commencing an intensive two-day exchange of agroecological knowledge, science and practice in the heart of Rome.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Very disappointing news came out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday. The agency announced it is greenlighting Dow Agroscience's new genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans that are designed to withstand repeated applications of 2,4-D — an antiquated, dangerous herbicide.

PAN scientist Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman called the decision "a slap in the face" to the thousands of farmers who have expressed concerns about crop damage, economic losses and health risks associated with the dramatically increased use of 2,4-D that will accompany Dow's new crops. USDA predicts 2,4-D use in corn and soybean production will increase between 500% and 1,400% by 2020.

Emily Marquez's blog
By Emily Marquez,

New California data about pesticides in food have been getting a fair amount of attention recently. Earlier this month, the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released results from 2013 food sampling by their Pesticide Monitoring Program.

Unfortunately, DPR’s conclusion that the residues they found on these latest food samples “pose no health risk” is more than a bit misleading. In fact, the trends indicated by the data are that the percentage of food samples containing pesticides has gone up over the past five years — as has the percentage of illegal residues found.

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

Last Saturday morning, I started my day ushering traffic down a dirt road into a potato field. The Toxic Taters Coalition was hosting a field day at Larry Heitkamp’s Yellow Rose Organic Farm outside of Sebeka, MN. About twenty people gathered from surrounding counties to educate themselves about organic potato production, connect with local farmers and learn more about Toxic Taters.

Why tour an organic potato farm? Although a single, massive company — RD Offutt Company, or RDO — plants tens of thousands of acres of potatoes each year in north central Minnesota, it’s certainly not the only potato producer in the region. Local residents who live near RDO potato fields launched the Toxic Taters campaign because they know that RDO’s model of potato production isn’t the only way. Our Coalition wanted to learn more about sustainable potato production — and who better to learn from than a local farmer who is hard at work implementing organic, ecosystem-based practices on his farm?

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Last week a Georgia business journal reported that the Georgia Farm Bureau, on behalf of state farmers, opposed EPA’s proposed rules to improve on-the-job protections for farmworkers. Their reasoning? They say a stronger Worker Protection Standard (WPS) would be detrimental to farmers and without “real benefit to anyone.”

Why would a Farm Bureau organization, claiming to support growers’ interests, lobby to undermine the health and safety of their workers? After all, laws that help keep workers safer, healthier and on the job are good for business. And they're good for our entire food system.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Beekeepers and indigenous groups in the Mexican state of Yucatán recently won an important court decision against Monsanto. A district judge overturned Monsanto's permit for  commercial planting of RoundUp-ready soybeans in the state.

The judge found that "co-existence between honey production and GMO soybeans is not possible," given European restrictions on imports of honey contaminated with GMO pollen. The court also took regulators to task for ignoring the constitutional requirement to consult with indigenous groups on decisions affecting their territory.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Thousands of community members and children's health advocates participated in our "week of action" last week, ramping up the pressure on California officials to take action on the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Our message? It's high time for the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to provide leadership to protect children from this chemical that scientists link to IQ drops and increased risk of ADHD and autism. Thank you for helping to make the week of action successful!

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

The start of the school year is filled with so many (exciting!) rituals. New pencils, notebooks and erasers — maybe even a cool new backpack. The grinning first-day-of-school photo op on the front porch. And...figuring out what to pack for lunch.

In our house, we have just a few more years of packing lunches, and my highschooler now often packs his own. But we're always looking for creative new ideas — and the Twittersphere has been buzzing for weeks with fun, healthy lunch ideas. Here's another resource that lunch-packing parents might want check out: WhatsOnMyFood.org.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

The battle for healthy communities in Kaua'i is once again ramping up. Last week, a federal judge issued a ruling overturning a popular pesticide reform law passed by the Kaua'i County Council last year.

Four global pesticide and GE seed corporations — BASF, Syngenta, Dow, and DuPont Pioneer — were all parties to the legal challenge. In the face of this latest round of industry pressure, PAN has vowed to work with community partners and lawyers to "explore all available options" to help defend the County of Kauai and support a fair and green food system in Hawai'i.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

As summer comes to a close and kids head back to school in the next few weeks, we invite you to take action to protect their futures and help them achieve their full potential.

With our partners here in California, we are organizing a "week of action" pressuring state officials to better protect children's health by taking a stand against brain-harming pesticides. Please join us!