Food & Agriculture

Karl Tupper's blog
By Karl Tupper,

Once there was a village along a river.
The people who lived here were very kind.
These residents, according to parable, began noticing increasing numbers of drowning people caught in the river's swift current.
And so they went to work, devising ever more elaborate technologies to resuscitate them.
So preoccupied were these heroic villagers with rescue and treatment, that they never thought to look upstream to see who was pushing the victims in.
This is a walk up that river.

So begins Living Downstream, a new film based on book of the same name by ecologist, poet, and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber. In the tradition of Silent Spring, the film examines the connections between human health and the health of the environment, and questions whether polluted ecosystems can sustain healthy communities. The film highlights atrazine and other chemicals linked to cancer that contaminate our bodies and our environments.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Last week, the UK Guardian posted an investigative article and accompanying short film, “Pineapples: Luxury fruit, at what price?”. Focusing on the human health and environmental impacts of pesticide-dependent pineapple plantations in Costa Rica, the film links what happens to workers and communities with what consumers have come to expect — artificially inexpensive produce flown in from across the globe year-round. To meet market demand for cheap pineapples, field workers are exposed to cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting herbicides like endosulfan and bromocil while receiving only four percent of what consumers pay for the fruit of their labors.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

On September 30th, a congressional oversight committee conducted the second of two hearings on the issue of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” created by unregulated cultivation of genetically engineered, Roundup Ready crops. The focus of the hearing is on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s failure to take action against the rapid evolution of weeds resistant to Roundup (glyphosate), which now infest over 10 million acres of U.S. cropland.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

World leaders met in New York this week at the United Nations to assess progress in halving the proportion of hungry people in the world—the first of eight lofty Millenium Development Goals set by the UN in 2000.

One bit of good news you might have heard is that after the last couple of really disastrous years, we seem to be headed in a slightly better direction: the number of hungry people appears to be inching down, and at 925 million, is 98 million less than the 1.023 billion who were hungry last year. 98 million fewer hungry people is meaningful. But we are still talking about nearly a billion people without adequate food and nutrition—a far cry from the 1996 World Food Summit’s goals of reducing hunger to 400 million people by 2015. We’re basically back to where hunger levels were just before the big food price spikes of 2008. And here’s the real news: food prices are expected to surge again, as they already have in Mozambique and elsewhere, with disastrous consequences for the poor.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

On the 20th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act, organic farmers joined Micheal Sligh of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) in testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Sligh, representing the National Organic Coalition (NOC) and founding Chair of the National Organic Standards Board, explained, "We are seizing the moment of commemorating two decades of certified organic food and farming in America to publicly acknowledge the many environmental and health benefits and to call for more government funding and participation in increasing the amount of organic food produced and consumed in the U.S."