The first few weeks of 2021 have been an incredible ride. As the Bernie meme makes its final rounds after last week’s inauguration, I’m inspired to throw a few reflections into the rhetorical ring.
Communities have shown up for each other in amazing ways during this tough year. Now comes the hard work of building the healthy, resilient food and farming system we so urgently need.
People showed up for democracy last week. Now, like many across the country, we’re taking a deep breath and looking toward the year ahead.
It’s messy and imperfect, but our democracy is worth it. For the past few months we’ve been encouraging everyone in the PAN community to show up for what you believe in during this year’s election.
More than 70 million people have already voted in this hugely consequential election, breaking early voting records across the country.
Earlier this week the government of Switzerland announced that it will no longer allow exports of five pesticides that have long been banned in their own country due to known health and environmental harms. Given that pesticide industry giant Syngenta is based in Switzerland, this is incredibly significant — and very, very good news.
The phrase “food is political” pops up all the time in the food and farm movement world, and has particular weight right now as we head toward the finish line of this incredibly fraught and consequential election season. So what, exactly, does it mean?
For years now, pesticide industry giants have been peddling their genetically engineered (GE) technology kits: modified seeds and the herbicides that go with them. Clear evidence shows this system is dangerous, brittle and failing, yet these corporations are now doubling down.
Right now, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering a request from Monsanto (recently acquired by Bayer) to approve a new GE corn seed engineered for use with five — yes, five — different herbicides. This is a truly terrible idea.
One week ago, George Floyd was killed by a police officer on the streets of Minneapolis. Here at PAN, we are outraged by the senseless murder of this unarmed Black man, and also by the brutal killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery — and so many others.
For years, we’ve seen how the pesticide industry works the system to keep their products on the market. But under this administration? It’s beyond the pale.
It’s not news to anyone that giant corporations like Monsanto and Dow (now Bayer and Corteva) invest billions to influence politicians and buddy up with regulators. Or that they send teams of slick experts to international arenas to get a seat at these high-level policy tables.