Last week I joined the PAN International family — or ohana, to use the Hawaiian phrase — in Honolulu to share, strategize and inspire one another. In this beautiful setting, people from 14 countries, including activists from the Hawaiian Islands, concluded by agreeing that “the fight to end the overuse of chemical pesticides…begins in Hawai’i and extends around the world.”
This is the time of year when our thoughts turn toward reflection, gratitude and celebration…and food. As I share meals with loved ones, I'm also celebrating the real progress we made for a safe and equitable food system in 2015.
Sometimes in this work, concrete wins are few and far between. But this year is different. This year, our work contributed to meaningful victories for farmers, farmworkers, children and honey bees — thanks to powerful collaborations, smart campaigns and the tenacity of the PAN community.
The news that a prestigious panel of 17 independent experts has deemed glyphosate — the world's most popular herbicide — to be "a probable human carcinogen" prompted the usual scoffing and stalling from Monsanto and others invested in agribusiness.
But this time, there might just be enough concern and momentum to stop inundating our fields and rural communities with this problematic chemical.
To mark World Environment Day on June 5, the United Nations challenged the whole world to take action: “Seven billion dreams. One planet. Consume with care.”
A beautiful sentiment, to be sure. But I’d add, between the dreams and the planet, “Thousands of networks.” Because we’ll need to link our dreams — and our actions — across communities, borders and oceans if we want to see the sweeping changes that many of us envision.
A song's been running through my head for several days now: Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves.
This International Women's History Month, I've been thinking about how women around the world are "standing on their own two feet, and ringin' on their own bells" on behalf of a fair, safe and sustainable global food system.
Looking back at 2014, I'm proud of the progress we've made on some of our long-standing issues. And, in light of the country's renewed conversations about fairness and justice, it's good to be reminded of how much we can accomplish when we're committed to listening, learning and working together.
Our movement is powered by a diverse, energized network of allies who coalesce around specific values and actions, often over the course of several years. Some of our work moves quickly, and some more slowly than we'd like. But either way, we're clearly making progress.
Thirty years ago, I’d never heard of Bhopal, India. Now to many, "Bhopal" — the site of one of the worst industrial accidents in history — signifies disaster, and justice denied. Marking today's solemn 30th anniversary of the deadly gas leak from a pesticide manufacturing facility, people around the world are saying, "We all live in Bhopal."
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 workers.
As I cross Cesar Chavez Avenue on my way to work each morning, I'm greeted by murals with the visionary labor organizer's portrait. When I reach the PAN office, he smiles down at me from a poster hanging prominently in the hall.