Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Paul Towers's blog

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Guess what?! Strawberry pesticides are in the air.

What’s being applied on the strawberry field next door? For many Californians, the answer is a big question mark. And the issue has taken on added significance as state officials consider how best to answer that question — and then inform parents about the health-harming pesticides being applied near homes and schools.

Paul Towers
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A beekeeper for president?

Issues: 

Maybe it’s time for a beekeeper for president. They can manage complex hives, provide critical support for farms and ecosystems, and ensure we get to eat an amazing array of fruits, nuts and vegetables. And they are some of the first to recognize that bee declines are a symptom of larger problems in our broken agricultural system.

Paul Towers
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Planting food justice from Hawai'i to Mexico

Sin maíz, no hay pais. Without corn, there is no country. That’s what Adelita San Vicente Tello and small farmers from across Mexico chanted as they stood up to Monsanto’s risky efforts to grow and test genetically engineered (GE) corn seeds. These crops in the field could contaminate and jeopardize traditional varieties, and the source of farmer livelihoods.

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A win for bees

The California State Beekeepers Association was buzzing about pesticides at their annual convention in Sacramento last week. And with good reason.

Just days before, EPA took the rare step of banning a bee-toxic insecticide. For an agency that has been really slow to take meaningful bee-protective action, dragging out both scientific analysis and much needed policy shifts, this was a very welcome move.

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Court sides with bees, says no to pesticide

Last week, the federal courts took a stand for bees and beekeepers. In their written decision, the judges said EPA had approved a new neonicotinoid pesticide — sulfoxaflor — without adequate review. The court ordered the Dow product be pulled from the market.

The judges also took EPA to task for saying yes to the pesticide despite strong evidence showing that the pesticide was “highly toxic” to bees. This is a real and important, much-needed win for pollinators.

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The looming DARK Act

[7/23/15 Update: This morning, the House voted to pass the DARK Act 275 -150. The bill is now headed to the Senate.]

The Monsanto-backed bill to undercut GMO labeling efforts just got worse. Faced with increased push-back at state and local levels, the pesticide/biotech corporation — and its allies in Congress — are attempting to further limit choice in the food and farming system.

In this latest version of what critics have dubbed the "Denying American's Right to Know" or DARK Act, industry has snuck in a provision that would limit the authority of local government to create rules on genetically engineered (GE) crops.

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Best present for Dad? Protecting our kids from pesticides.

Gadgets and ties are great, but this Father's Day I'm celebrating the growing momentum to protect kids' health from pesticides in California and beyond.

Over the past two weeks, parents, teachers and health professionals filled hearing rooms across the state demanding better protections for their children. It's still not clear, though, if decisionmakers are listening.

Paul Towers
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Kaua'i takes on the Big 6 & wins. Again!

Chalk up another win for the little guy. A handful of residents of Kauai’s Waimea community prevailed in court over biotech giant DuPont-Pioneer last week. Citing extensive, harmful dust generated by DuPont’s seed operations, a jury awarded 15 residents $500,000 in damages.

This is just the latest in an impressive string of victories against pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) seed corporations in Kaua’i, the global epicenter for GE seed testing.

Paul Towers

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