Reclaiming the future of food and farming

GroundTruth Blog

Paul Towers
May 20, 2014
Whew, three islands in four days. I recently returned from a whirlwind speaking tour in Hawai'i with Dr. Tyrone Hayes covering issues of pesticides, corporate control in agriculture and genetically engineered (GE) seeds. Addressing the topic in high school auditoriums and community health clinics, it’s increasingly clear that people across the state want to build a food system that feeds them, protects community health and fragile ecosystems, and offers fair employment — including pushing back against corporate takeover of the islands' farming land. And they're making... Read More
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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
May 15, 2014
“This pesticide is toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Do not apply directly to water… Drift or runoff may be hazardous….The use of this chemical…may result in groundwater contamination.” Does this sound like a green chemical of the future, something that you’d want drifting over fields, rivers, streams, schools and homes? Not so much. But our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may disagree. EPA has been stumbling hard and making some bad decisions lately, including this latest announcement: the agency intends to approve Dow AgroScience’s... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
May 14, 2014
Last week the French group Generations Futures announced findings from a small biomonitoring study of children living and learning near agricultural fields. Eighty percent of the children tested had been exposed to agricultural pesticides in the previous three months. Researchers took hair samples from 30 children living or attending school within a 1/10 of a mile of agricultural areas. Analysis of the samples found “traces of 53 pesticides believed to affect the hormone system of mammals, leading to cancerous tumors, birth defects, developmental disorders and learning disabilities in... Read More
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Irma Medellin
May 07, 2014
Pesticides are an everyday part life in our town. Sometimes we can see or smell the drifting chemicals, sometimes they are invisible. But we know they are there — especially in the fall when fields are fumigated, and this time of year when new plants are sprayed. So I wasn't surprised when health officials released a report last week showing that children in our part of California — the Central Valley — are most likely to be in schools near pesticide-sprayed fields. We've been telling our stories for years, and unfortunately policymakers haven't heard us. As a... Read More
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Lex Horan
May 06, 2014
A few weeks ago I heard Dr. Marla Spivak give a “State of the Bees” address to a packed auditorium in Minneapolis. At the end of her presentation, an audience member raised his hand and asked: “What state is doing the most to protect bees?” Dr. Spivak only paused for a moment before answering, “Well, I’d have to say Minnesota.” Dr. Spivak may be biased, since her Bee Lab is based at the University of Minnesota (and I guess I could be too). But I think she’s onto something: Minnesota is getting a move on protecting its pollinators. The... Read More
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Sara Knight
May 01, 2014
It's no surprise: pesticide corporations go to great lengths to protect the public image of their products. We've been highlighting their PR hijinks for years, and their attempts to spin facts to suit their agenda have only gotten more blatant. Bees and pesticides provide the latest example. Corporate attempts to reframe the conversation, and subvert independent science, have gone into hyperdrive. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto in particular are positioning themselves as "bee friendly" — no matter that several top selling pesticide products are directly linked to bee deaths. Highlighting... Read More
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Judy Hatcher
May 01, 2014
At a funder conference I’m attending this week, we began by singing the venerable labor song, “Which side are you on?” I thought it was an especially appropriate choice because at PAN, we’re joining our allies around the world in reflecting on the intersections between worker’s rights, safety and public health. This week, as we note both International Workers Memorial Day and May Day (International Workers Day across much of the world), I’m reminded of how important it is for all of us who care about the food system to take sides with the system’s... Read More
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Kristin Schafer
Apr 29, 2014
This is very powerful data. A new, first-of-its-kind report from California's Department of Health (DPH) shows that health-harming agricultural pesticides are being sprayed close to schools across the state. Not just a few pesticides, either — or a few schools. More than 500,000 California children in hundreds of schools spend their days within 1/4 mile of pesticide applications. Of these, more than 100,000 (mostly Latino) children in 226 schools attend classrooms near fields with the heaviest use of dangerous chemicals. We have a problem. We know these pesticides can drift from where... Read More
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