GroundTruth Blog

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

Kathryn Gilje's blog
By Kathryn Gilje,

Last week, the nations of the world agreed that the pesticide endosulfan is too toxic for people and the planet to bear. As our staff scientist Karl Tupper reported from Geneva, 173 countries agreed to ban the chemical through the Stockholm Convention, recognizing that innovative farmers across the globe are already growing coffee, cashew, chocolate and cotton without a drop of the deadly pesticide.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Looks like the Obama Administration has a second chance to get it right on food and agricultural research. Last week, the director of the relatively new National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Roger Beachy, announced his resignation. Previously, Beachy had served as president of Monsanto’s de facto nonprofit research arm, the Danforth Plant Science Center.

The abrupt resignation leaves open an influential public research post — one that could this time be filled by a scientist without deep ties to corporate agribusiness, but who might instead prioritize sustainable, agroecological and organic food and farming systems.

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

As the sun crested the Berkeley hills early yesterday, I logged on to the Washington Post’s live feed of its daylong conference, The Future of Food. For the next 8 hours, I enjoyed a veritable feast of thoughtful, well-evidenced and deeply inspiring calls to embrace a new agriculture, rooted in community and ecological resilience. The messengers included the Prince of Wales — who seamlessly knitted together the challenges of our failing global food system with a clear vision for the future — Eric Schlosser, Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva and many more.

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

Do you ever wish it were easier to find fresh, healthy food for your family? Are you outraged by a food system that fills the pockets of giant corporations and denies fairness to farmers and farmworkers alike? Do you yearn to be part of a powerful, growing movement that's spreading across the U.S. (and in fact the world), and that's transforming our relationship to food — and each other — in the most fundamental ways imaginable?

If so, join us for a lively conversation about food justice, food sovereignty and food democracy — in this and future blog posts, or live and in person in San Francisco next Monday.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

Farmers are the stewards of the land; sadly, politics often dictate how they farm. In the coming days, Congress will make decisions on funding priorities for 2012, and dramatic cuts to soil conservation programs are being proposed.

We cannot afford to let this happen. Our nation’s ability to produce adequate healthy food, and to protect vital air and water resources, depend on how we treat the soil. Cutting soil conservation programs now will have devastating consequences long into the future. Call your Congressmember today and let them know healthy soil is well worth the modest investment.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Strawberries were on the agenda at the recent Social Justice Summit hosted by Cal State Fullerton. In a lively workshop entitled Strawberry Fields Forever: Pesticides and Environmental Injustice in California, students developed strategies to roll back the controversial fumigant pesticide methyl iodide.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Like any parent, when I drop off my kids at school, I want to trust they'll be safe. Safe from violence, safe from bullying, safe from diseases and pests — and safe from pesticides that can cause them harm.

As evidence continues to pile up that pesticides can harm children's health and development, many schools are finding ways to control pests on school grounds without spraying dangerous chemicals. A new report from our coalition partners, Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), outlines the scope of the problem, the most innovative solutions, and ways parents and policymakers alike can help get pesticides out of school buildings and playgrounds.

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

Geneva, April 29: I am extremely pleased to report that the Parties to the Stockholm Convention have just agreed to phase out endosulfan globally! This is a huge victory for PAN and our partners around the world, most especially our civil society colleagues in India who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

The final decision has a few loopholes (they almost always do), allowing endosulfan to be used on certain crops against some specific pests for the next six years. But we’re nonetheless very happy, and I’m certainly relieved. The loopholes (“specific exemptions” in the language of the treaty) were a necessary, if unfortunate, compromise needed to get India to agree to the ban. Still, most uses will end next summer, with a short list winding down through 2017. And then that’s it: no more endosulfan.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

New tests conducted by British scientists show that widely used agricultural pesticides disrupt male hormones, and may be contributing to a suite of reproductive disorders increasingly common among men.

Reduced sperm count, infertility and abnormal genitals are among the problems some scientists have dubbed “testicular dysgenesis syndrome.” This latest study greatly strengthens the evidence that these problems may be linked to environmental contaminants.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Since 2008, Brazil has held the dubious distinction of spending more on pesticides than anyplace else on earth. But what has the country's farmers, public health professionals and environmental advocates even more worried is Brazil's corresponding rise in planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops, engineered to tolerate mega-doses of herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup). And these crops are driving emergence of herbicide-tolerant "superweeds".