Food & Agriculture

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Each year, more than 200 million pounds of pesticides are used in California. They are applied in schools, in and around our homes, on roadsides, and on farmland. Picked up by winds and water, these chemicals spread to nearly every corner of the state and are commonly found in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

Kristin Schafer's picture

There’s nothing quite like a fresh, juicy strawberry. Our family lives near the central coast of California where most of the strawberries in the U.S. are grown, so we enjoy fresh-picked strawberries nearly year round.

What many people don’t know is that some of the nastiest pesticides are used in strawberry fields. Most non-organic berries are grown in soil that’s been zapped clean with chemicals that kill everything they touch. Fields are covered with huge tarps while pesticides are pumped in and the soil is stripped of all living things before planting. Workers, neighbors and parents sending their kids to school near strawberry fields dread fumigation season.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Personally, I like my cranberries and pumpkin pie chemical-free.

It’s not that you can taste or smell pesticides on food – the levels are much too low for that. It’s just that I sleep better knowing I’ve done all I can to minimize the number of chemicals I put into my body and feed to my kids.

I’ve been a mom for 15 years and a pesticide reform advocate for almost as long. I’ve organized around international treaties, lobbied government officials, and cheered at a lot of swim meets and baseball games. For me, these two worlds come together most clearly around food – in our backyard garden, in the produce aisle and at the dinner table.