Reclaiming the future of food and farming

GroundTruth Blog

Paul Towers
Jun 23, 2016
Outside Bayer’s North Carolina headquarters this week, a beekeeper stood with 2.5 million dead bees — a symbol for the number of kills U.S. beekeepers face across the country annually — thanks in part to the bee-harming pesticides that Bayer and others manufacture. This was one stop on the beekeeper-led Keep the Hives Alive Tour, which made its way across the country during National Pollinator Week. The tour's aim is to build momentum for state and national action to protect bees and support farmers and beekeepers at each stop, in each region. The tour is also part of the effort to reclaim... Read More
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Medha Chandra
Jun 15, 2016
Pesticide drift happens all too frequently, especially in rural California where homes, schools and agricultural fields can be nextdoor neighbors. Children — the most vulnerable members of these communities — are often the first to experience drift exposure and its resulting health impacts. Unfortunately, our regulatory process is so weak and broken that those responsible for drift too often get away with minor consequences, despite clear evidence of culpability and harm. This has to change. Now, after years of community pressure, California officials are finally considering measures that... Read More
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Emily Marquez
Jun 15, 2016
EPA recently released its assessement of the ecological risks posed by the widely used herbicide atrazine. Agency scientists found that current exposures greatly exceed its "levels of concern" for chronic risk for birds, mammals and fish — by 22, 198, and 62 times, respectively. When it comes to wildlife harms, these new findings on atrazine are pretty damning. This Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) is a step in the agency's long overdue evaluation of the risks posed by atrazine. EPA is conducting these reviews as part of the re-registration process for pesticides, which takes place about... Read More
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Judy Hatcher
Jun 15, 2016
Berta Cáceres, an outspoken environmental activist and leader of the indigenous Lenca people in Honduras, was assassinated in early March. One of her colleagues was also killed two weeks later. After some dawdling and several irregularities, five men were arrested for the crime. The accused are associated with Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), the construction firm at the center of a long struggle with the Lenca people over a proposal to build four hyrodelectric dams along the Gualcarque River. Some of the defendants are retired or active Armed Forces officers. Berta's death catalyzed a... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Jun 09, 2016
The fate of Monsanto's flagship herbicide in the European Union (EU) remains unclear. Earlier this week, the standing Committee on Plants, Animals Food and Feed declined to extend authorization for glyphosate sales in the region. The sales license is set to expire at the end of this month. Concerns about potential impacts of the widely used herbicide on human health are the main driver of the controversy. In April 2015, the World Health Organization's cancer experts found that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans." The European Food Safety Agency later found that glyphosate was... Read More
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Linda Wells
Jun 08, 2016
Pesticide drift is not just a health issue. It can also cause significant financial problems for farmers growing sensitive crops. This spring, PAN lobbied alongside a growing coalition of farmer organizations in Iowa to promote solutions to the economic issues presented by drift. The Iowa state legislative session just wrapped up, and it looks like a small victory for these farmers might be just around the corner. Being drifted on can be a huge setback for organic farmers and other specialty crop growers. It can mean less product to provide loyal customers, surprisingly high financial losses... Read More
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Margaret Reeves
May 31, 2016
Regenerative agriculture can reverse climate change within our lifetime. That's the inspiring, well-documented message of longtime farmer and author Eric Toensmeier in his new book The Carbon Farming Solution. Deftly integrating explanations of science, local knowledge and public policy opportunities, Toensmeier shows how regenerative agriculture can and must be central to collective global action to address climate change. The book, completed shortly after the 2015 climate talks, examines many of the key issues raised in Paris. In particular, Toensmeier presents solid, scientific evidence... Read More
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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
May 26, 2016
Last week, the National Academies of Science (NAS) attracted much media attention with the release of its new report, "Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects." The report assessed a range of health, environmental, social and economic impacts of GE crops. According to report authors, genetically engineered (GE) crops have failed to live up to the hype advertised by corporate manufacturers. And more rigorous monitoring and oversight by regulatory agencies is needed, they say, to protect against unexpected adverse outcomes. I heartily agree.  Unfortunately, these and... Read More
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