Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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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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Syngenta's atrazine PR campaign unveiled

From attacks on independent scientists to smear campaigns against the courts, we thought we’d seen it all from Syngenta. But the world’s largest agrichemical producer continues to lower the bar in its efforts to protect its flagship product, atrazine.

New documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy reveal the details of Syngenta’s multimillion dollar “message management” campaign for atrazine. Their tactics? Muddy the science, manipulate public perception, and prevent a clear, independent scientific review.

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Controversial "Ag Gag" bill considered in Iowa

The Iowa Senate is considering a state law that would criminalize the reporting of abusive conditions at animal or crop operations.

Several citizen and food transparency groups in Iowa have opposed the law, which they have dubbed the "Whistle Blower Suppression Bill" and the "Ag Gag Bill." Strong support for the measure is coming from multinational corporations like Monsanto and Dupont, as well as statewide organizations like the Iowa Poultry Association. 

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Genetically engineered bourbon?! No joke.

More than 80% of the non-organic products in our pantries include genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Turns out, that even includes bourbon.

As Grist reported last week, GE corn  — also known as genetically modified, or GMO — has made its way into our liquor cabinets: "Bourbon gives us an interesting window into GMO grain because the spirit must by definition be made with at least 51 percent corn." Since about 85% of the corn in the U.S. is grown from genetically engineered seed, most bourbon is now made from GE corn.

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Industry front group says: Don't worry, be happy!

As the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring approaches, the purveyors of Monsanto & Co’s falsehoods are out in full force.

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)  — a front group for the pesticide industry — held a briefing last week, announcing a new report extolling the virtues of pesticides to federal legislators. If this is where our decisionmakers are getting their information, we're in trouble.

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Movement mounts against corporate personhood

Two years ago, on January 21, 2010, a Supreme Court panel that included ex-Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas made a decision that has since changed the face of election campaigning. The landmark ruling in Citizens United v. FEC declared corporations to be people and, under the guise of the First Amendment, permitted the pumping of unlimited amounts of corporate money into politics, opening the floodgates for a corporate buyout of democracy. The decision, which undid over a century of campaign finance reform, passed 5-4. Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas provided the critical vote.

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