Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Kathryn Gilje's blog

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Chile stands up to Monsanto

On March 21, the Chilean Transparency Council stood with its citizenry against Monsanto and other global seed corporations to protect Chileans' right to know about genetically engineered (GE) crops.

The Council's decision ensures that farmers, beekeepers and rural residents can find out exactly where GE crops are planted — basic information that is critically important as they seek to protect their farms, apiaries and families from toxic pesticide drift and contamination by pollen from GE plants.

Kathryn Gilje
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HUGE Win! Arysta pulls methyl iodide nationwide

After years of promoting their controversial pesticide in the face of scientific and public opposition, Arysta LifeScience has pulled cancer-causing methyl iodide off the U.S. market.

The Tuesday evening announcement ends use in this country of what scientists have called "one of the most toxic chemicals on earth."

Kathryn Gilje
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If we build it, the bees will come

Last weekend, my backyard beehive was once again the hub of attention. My nieces (4 and 5 years old) are visiting, so we pulled on bee suits and went out to take a deep look into the hive.

The bees themselves are fascinating to observe, each with their own specialized job, deep into the magic of pollination, building the hive and making honey.

The hubbub around the hive also gave me the chance to talk about how bees and pollinators around the world are in trouble, and how it's up to us, this generation, to make a change.

Today, PAN and Beyond Pesticides are launching our Honey Bee Haven website, where you can meet others who — in the face of policymaker inaction — are building a groundswell of support for honey bees and other pollinators.

Kathryn Gilje
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My love affair with strawberry jam

I don't use the phrase love affair much, but there's no other way to describe my devotion to Swanton Berry Farm and their just-plain-yummy jam. Swanton grows strawberries organically — no methyl iodide or other cancer-causing pesticides. They were the first organic farm to sign a union contract with the United Farm Workers (UFW) — proof in the pudding that they value fairness and transparency.

PAN has a long history of working alongside Swanton Berry for food democracy, and fairness — and I'm honored by very few things more than Jim Cochran's support of PAN.

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Your voice echoed, and the world changed

As I look back on 2011, I am truly struck that this year, we worked together to indeed leave a better world for our children, our nieces, nephews and grandchildren — even in the face of intractable resistance on concerns of utmost importance for the future of our world. All of us at PAN are deeply grateful, if aching for greater transformation, too.

The stark contrast of government caught in the claws of corporate influence makes it that much clearer: your engagement, and the networked actions of people around the world, are the only way to make this world right. Thank you for staying connected, and taking action. Your voice and support is critical for the work ahead. And if you are not yet a PAN member, I invite you to join this community in staying the course.

Kathryn Gilje
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Keeping the Big 6 on the hook

Even as we celebrated a historic Guilty as Charged verdict at the close of the tribunal last week, we move forward with what's next. We know that it's up to us to expose the harms that corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta have done, including their undue influence on science and government.

It's up to us to use this verdict to hold them accountable. Several recent pieces of news fuel me with hope. 

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Guilty as charged

Truth be told, there were tears in my eyes as I sat there, translating and tweeting amongst the bustling crowd of media and hundreds of people, most of them farmers. After an intensive public trial covering a range of human rights violations, on December 6, the jurors issued a scathing verdict to the six largest pesticide and biotechnology corporations, urging governments to take action to prevent further harm. The crowd erupted in a roar of applause, and later, congratulations were shared in at least seven languages.

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What did an Indiana farmer, Malaysian plantation worker & British beekeeper do this weekend?

Dec 3, 2011 – Today, we launched the landmark human rights tribunal against six pesticide corporations: Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer, DuPont and BASF. These corporations control the global trade in pesticides worldwide, and regularly violate our rights to health, life and livelihood. The launch, timed to coincide with the 27th anniversary of the disaster in Bhopal, India, marked a vital moment in PAN’s continued work to roll back corporate control of food and agriculture, and to protect our health — worldwide.

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Pesticide truth-tellers on video!

Miscarriages. Cancers. The loss of a job or an entire way of life. It's never easy to talk publicly about personal pain. That's why the stories of Vi, David, Juana, Mildre and Jeff are so powerful. In their own words, they talk about the harms that pesticides cause. On video, to millions of people.

Their point: ensure that someday, pesticide corporations are no longer above the law when it comes to our health, our economy and our well-being. Watch these extraordinary, brave individuals tell their truths.

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Occupy the Pesticide Industry!

There are two things that PAN and Occupy hold deeply in common: (1) We know that corporate control of our government, economy and food system undermines our attempts to push forward real change. And (2) As government has failed to rein in the corporate occupation of our food and farms, we believe we must hold them to account ourselves. And so we move forward. PAN will bring the Big 6 pesticide corporations to rigorous, public trial on December 3, 2011 in Bangalore, India.

I will be there, testifying and reporting from the ground, alongside hundreds of others from the 99% —  farmers, farmworkers and scientists who feed our world. I hope to see you engaged and active, too. 

Kathryn Gilje

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