Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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GMO labeling momentum builds

The call for labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods continues to grow louder. The Just Label It campaign — with more than 500 partner organizations — is well on its way to collecting one million comments urging the Food and Drug Adminstration to mandate GE (or GMO) labeling.

Members of Congress are joining the groundswell of concerned citizens by signing onto a bicameral letter to FDA signaling their support for GMO labeling.

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Connecticut's 'pesticide-free schools' under attack

In 2005, Connecticut passed a landmark law prohibiting the use of hazardous pesticides in schools. And ever since, the state has been successfully ensuring that children are exposed to fewer chemicals where they learn, play and grow.

Now this historic program is under attack.

 A proposed state law — supported by the pesticide industry — would reverse Connecticut’s strong stance on keeping schools pesticide-free. Connecticut groups and concerned legislators are fighting back.

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Public outcry blocks worst of Iowa 'Ag Gag' bill

Last week, the Iowa Senate amended and passed the controversial Ag Gag Bill, which originally criminalized reporting of conditions at agricultural operations in the state.

Thanks to a great deal of public opposition to the original bill, including from PAN supporters, amendments removed all language about recordings taken of agricultural operations. The bill now focuses on tougher penalties for anyone who obtains access to agricultural operations under false pretenses.

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Stop paraquat in palm plantations

Pesticide use on the massive palm oil plantations throughout Asia and the Pacific is putting the health of communities and agricultural workers at risk. This week, PAN's office in the region will press palm oil companies to stop use of the most dangerous pesticides, including the infamous herbicide paraquat.

PAN's resolution and petition will be presented on March 8 to the meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization made up of companies that produce, market, invest and trade in palm oil, as well as environmental and other nonprofit organizations. The list of companies involved includes U.S. giants such as Cargill, Nestle, and Unilever.

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PAN's global tribunal got Dow's attention

Recently released emails reveal that Dow Chemical Co., one of the Big 6 pesticide corporations on trial in December's landmark Permanent People's Tribunal, was watching the tribunal very closely.

WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files earlier this week, a release including over five million emails from Stratfor, a company that "provides intelligence services to large corporations." The emails reveal at least half a dozen separate mentions of the tribunal during November and December of last year.

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Advocating for bees in California's capitol

Yesterday, a few dozen people filled a room in downtown Sacramento just blocks from the state Capitol building to celebrate a small but critical ally – the honey bee. They tasted food and drinks made with local honey, and learned about steps they can take to protect the threatened pollinator.

PAN was on hand to provide information about the link between bee declines and increased exposure to a systemic class of pesticides (neonicotinoids), while partners Slow Food Sacramento and the California State Grange explained the importance of pollinators to the food system as well as the agricultural economy.

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For the love of bees & PAN

Smock, an artisan letterpress based in Syracuse, NY, has created unique, honey bee-inspired cards...for PAN!

These cards are part of Smock's “change the world” card series, where 100% of profits are donated to a critical environmental issue.

The cheery "Sunflower" cards — sustainably letterpressed on bamboo paper — offer a beautiful way for members to spread the word about the ways in which pesticides are putting bees in peril.

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Sweet strawberry victory on Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, Monterey County Supervisors voted overwhelmingly to urge California to take action on methyl iodide. Over one hundred farmworkers filled the hearing room in the heart of strawberry country, along with farmers, rural residents and physicians.

Tuesday’s vote was historic not only because of the resolution passed, but because of the triumph in the face of powerful corporate pressure. 

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French court finds Monsanto guilty

On Monday, a French court ruled in favor of farmer Paul François, who suffered neurological symptoms including headaches, memory loss and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s herbicide, Lasso.

The decision marks the first time the pesticide and biotech giant — the largest of the Big 6 — has been held liable for poisoning caused by its products. Monsanto is appealing the verdict.

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New leadership on pesticides in California

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signaled a new direction for California agriculture with the appointment of Brian Leahy as the state’s chief pesticide regulator.

Leahy, a former conventional-turned-organic rice farmer, takes the helm of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) at a key moment: the agency is embroiled in controversy over its decision to approve the cancer-causing pesticide methyl iodide despite strong scientific opposition to the chemical.

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