Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Margaret Reeves's blog

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DHS raids, immigration & our food system

Along with partners across the country, PAN is strongly opposing the recent raids and deportations of immigrant families from Central America. As you may have heard, these Department of Homeland Security (DHS) raids are taking place in communities across Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. And they represent the antithesis of the immigration reform we so urgently need.

Margaret Reeves
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On-the-job protections for farmworkers — finally!

Monday was a great day for the nation’s two million farmworkers and their families. On September 28, EPA released its long-awaited improved rules for the protection of farmworkers from on-the-job exposure to hazardous pesticides.

While we didn't get everything we hoped for, the rules are now much, much stronger than they've been for the past 20 years. And that’s a real victory!

Margaret Reeves
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Tax dollars, farming & the common good

As a California resident and taxpayer, I’m more interested in protecting my state’s soil, air, water and pollinators than supporting corporate profits from agriculture.

Earlier this month, Congress started the long, complex and very political process of deciding how funds will be spent next year for "food, agriculture and rural development." In other words, exactly which parts of the Farm Bill will get our tax dollars next year.

Margaret Reeves
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Healthy soils, resilient farms

Innovative farmers and ranchers have, for generations, deliberately invested in building soil health. And this year — with the UN’s International Year of Soils and implementation of California's Healthy Soil Initiative well underway — we'll be pressing policymakers to turn innovation for healthy soil into standard practice.

The timing could not be better. Widespread implementation of practices that build and protect soil health is the only certain thing that will ensure farmers’ ability to both mitigate and adapt to worsening conditions associated with climate change. California's historic drought provides a dramatic case in point.

Margaret Reeves
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Got worms? Why healthy soil matters.

I’ve been an earthworm fan for decades. At my Oakland, California home I dump vegetable scraps into a big plastic bin with worms. Once or twice a year I collect incredibly rich worm compost, teaming with roly-poly bugs (isopods), worms — and billions of critters I can’t see. My garden plants love it, and it’s free.

In agricultural soils, worms (different kinds, but worms nevertheless) can contribute significantly to soil respiration with a direct and sharp increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released, as the number and length of worm canals increases. It turns out this soil respiration is critical to plant health.

Margaret Reeves
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A valentine for farmworkers

Before you head off to celebrate Valentine’s Day dinner with your loved one, take a moment to send some of that love to the hardworking men and women who put all that good, fresh food on your table.

If you're reading this before 11am pacific time on February 13th, you can send a "Thunderclap" valentine to EPA's Gina McCarthy, asking her to take a stand to protect farmworker health. All of the resulting tweets and Facebook posts will appear en masse Friday morning.

Margaret Reeves
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Welcome to the "Year of Soils!"

As an agroecologist with a keen interest in soil, I'm excited to share that 2015 is the "International Year of Soils." In the coming months, I'll have a chance to dive into an issue that's near and dear to my heart.

I’ll be able to spread the word about how living, healthy soils provide the foundation for production of our feed, fiber and fuel — and about 95% of all the food we consume. I’ll tell stories of tried-and-true traditions of excellent soil stewardship and cutting-edge soil biology. What fascinates me most is the tremendous impact of biology — in all its incredible abundance and diversity — on soil systems.

Margaret Reeves

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