GroundTruth Blog

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

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Here they go again. Congress is once again considering “fast track” approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Fast track means no public hearings, no floor debate, no amendments — no civic engagement whatsoever.

The stakes are high. The TPP would be the largest trade deal in history, covering 792 million people and about 40% of the world’s economy. If fast track is approved, rules affecting food and farming — among many other sectors — will be negotiated completely behind closed doors.

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

When more than 3,000 sustainable and organic farmers get together in one place, amazing things can happen.

I spent last weekend at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service conference — aka MOSES. From its quiet beginnings in 1990, the MOSES event has grown into the largest organic farming conference in the country. The annual gathering in La Crosse, Wisconsin has become a mainstay of Midwest sustainable ag innovation, skill-sharing and community-building.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

More and more public health experts are turning their attention to how we can prevent childhood diseases, rather than hunting for cures. This was my takeaway from an inspiring two-day meeting of scientists in Austin earlier this month.

Children: Food and Environment, sponsored by our partners at the Children's Environmental Health Network, brought together dozens of pediatric researchers from a wide range of disciplines. All seemed to share a recognition that environmental exposures are playing a key role in undermining our children's health, and that the resulting problems are both urgent — and preventable.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

Later today, the Hawai'i House Committee on Agriculture will take up an important bill that could create new protections for children from pesticides. But if prior votes are any indication, the committee — and the industrial agricultural interests driving it — will be a tough obstacle to overcome.

We've seen this same showdown on island after island, as each county has attempted to enact new protections on the use of pesticides or pesticide-promoting genetically engineered seeds and crops. And we've also seen the force with which, each time, Monsanto and the rest of the Big 6 pesticide corporations have tried to stop these laws in their tracks.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Before you head off to celebrate Valentine’s Day dinner with your loved one, take a moment to send some of that love to the hardworking men and women who put all that good, fresh food on your table.

If you're reading this before 11am pacific time on February 13th, you can send a "Thunderclap" valentine to EPA's Gina McCarthy, asking her to take a stand to protect farmworker health. All of the resulting tweets and Facebook posts will appear en masse Friday morning.

Emily Marquez's blog
By Emily Marquez,

I'm not trained as a public health scientist, but I've learned how to decipher epidemiology studies since I started working at PAN — and a good thing, too, because this stuff is interesting.

Case in point: A new study reports that when developing mice are exposed to a pyrethroid insecticide called deltamethrin, it results in impacts on brain chemistry and changes in behavior similar to what's observed in attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD). Like I said, interesting stuff.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

As I spoke to a packed room at the EcoFarm Conference late last month, it was clear that many of us eagerly await the unveiling of the White House's new plan to protect bees. But if recent events are any indication, officials aren’t getting the message that pesticides are a key part of the problem. Just one day before my talk, EPA approved another bee-harming pesticide.

With this recent decision, it’s time to shake up the White House hive. No, not the beehive near the Obamas’ kitchen garden, but the politics that are blocking progress for the nation’s pollinators. It's the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health that's releasing a new plan, and they really need to get it right.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Last week, a new farmer-led coalition held a press conference in Des Moines calling on state regulators to better protect Iowa farmers and communities from pesticide drift. The move reflects growing concern about the impacts of drift on Iowa farms and communities. Drift can undermine farmers’ ability to farm as they choose, jeopardize the state’s growing local food economy, and put Iowa children’s health at risk.

PAN's Iowa Policy Coordinator Kate Mendenhall was joined by the leadership and members of the Iowa Farmers Union (IFU) at the press event. Together they outlined the drift protection steps the coalition is requesting of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). Other organizations in the growing coalition include Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) and the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network (WFAN).

Lex Horan's blog
By Lex Horan,

In this week's State of the Union address, President Obama clearly signaled his renewed commitment to push free trade agreements through Congress. But civil society organizations across the world are speaking out louder than ever in firm opposition to the secretive "Fast Track" negotiations of the two global trade agreements now on the table: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TTIP is one of the latest agreements in the queue, currently in negotiation between the U.S. and the European Union (EU). Along with the TPP, TTIP is threatening international policy change that puts the interests of multinational corporations ahead of everything else, and strips away a slew of protections that social movements across the world have won in recent years.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

As an agroecologist with a keen interest in soil, I'm excited to share that 2015 is the "International Year of Soils." In the coming months, I'll have a chance to dive into an issue that's near and dear to my heart.

I’ll be able to spread the word about how living, healthy soils provide the foundation for production of our feed, fiber and fuel — and about 95% of all the food we consume. I’ll tell stories of tried-and-true traditions of excellent soil stewardship and cutting-edge soil biology. What fascinates me most is the tremendous impact of biology — in all its incredible abundance and diversity — on soil systems.