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Reclaiming the future of food and farming

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Do the crime, pay the fine

On Tuesday, California lawmakers took steps to add stricter penalties for pesticide drift violations in the state. With a 5-0 vote, members of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee moved AB 1419 forward, signaling support for the health and safety of California farmworkers and farming communities.

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A city goes 'organic'

In early January, the City Council of Portland, Maine unanimously passed a tough ban on synthetic pesticide use in the city, leading many Portland residents to applaud their city’s new “organic” status. The ordinance comes in as one of the strongest pesticide use reduction policies in the country.

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Killing two birds with one seed

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released several scientific assessments that found commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) can kill and harm birds of all sizes. This comes on the heels of new research from the University of Saskatchewan, with experimental evidence finding dramatic effects of neonics on birds inhabiting farmland or open countryside — causing migrating songbirds to lose their sense of direction and suffer drastic weight loss.

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Yup, chlorpyrifos is bad for brains

Following a clear body of science, California just listed chlorpyrifos as a "developmental toxicant." The insecticide is still widely used in agriculture across the state (and country), but now it will be officially listed with other health-harming chemicals under Proposition 65, the "Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986."

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Food for thought

With the holiday season upon us, food is top of mind for many. In addition to an opportunity to celebrate with our nearest and dearest, this is also a perfect time to reflect on how our food is grown — and how we support the people doing that work.

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When disaster strikes. . .

In the past weeks and months, many have been rocked by natural disasters — hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastating southern states and the Caribbean, a strong earthquake shaking Mexico City and destructive fires ripping through western states, Portugal and Spain.

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Celebrating Dolores

At age 87, political activist Dolores Huerta is getting some long-overdue recognition for the central role she's played for years in the farmworker movement. It's a role well worth celebrating.

The documentary film Dolores, produced by director Peter Bratt, is now in theaters. The film puts Huerta's decades of organizing front and center where it should be, rather than portraying her as a "sidekick" of Cesar Chavez, as too many narratives have. 

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Getting this carcinogen out of California water

In late July, the California State Water Resources Control Board approved a stringent "maximum contamination level" (MCL) for a cancer-causing chemical in drinking water. This was a hard-fought and important victory for public health. 

For 25 years, 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) has been designated as a carcinogen in the state, and the new mandate to keep it out of drinking water — or at least below detectable amounts — is an important step forward.

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