Drift

Ana Duncan Pardo's picture

In honor of National Farmworker Awareness Week, we are reposting this powerful story of young farmworkers in North Carolina. This guest blog was originally published in September, 2011.

Last week Toxic Free North Carolina released our latest Farm Worker Documentary Project film, Overworked & Under Spray. It’s a short piece featuring six high school-aged farmworkers’ stories about being sprayed with agricultural pesticides while tending crops in fields across the state.

Linda Wells's picture

Whew! I just got off the road from a wintry, whirlwind tour of farms, churches and schools in Minnesota and Iowa. My colleague Emily Marquez and I completed our last of four Drift Catcher trainings, certifying 26 new citizen Drift Catchers.

The participants are passionate farmers and parents who are affected by pesticide drift each year and want to use PAN's monitoring technology to document that exposure. Together, we'll be working to highlight the very real problem of pesticide drift in the Midwest, and to work towards concrete ways to reduce the health and economic harms of pesticides.

Kristin Schafer's picture

When a child’s health is on the line, moms will often stand up in truly courageous ways. Like the mothers in the small, rural community of Lindsay, California who were concerned about how pesticides were affecting their children.

These central valley moms enrolled in a project back in 2006 to monitor how much chlorpyrifos — a commonly used insecticide — was drifting into their homes from nearby fields and orchards, using a simple “Drift Catcher” tool. They also signed up for biomonitoring, a way to find out how much of that pesticide was then making it into their bodies, and likely also into the bodies of their children.

Linda Wells's picture

The Supreme Court of Minnesota recently issued a disappointing ruling on the legal rights of organic farmers faced with pesticide drift from neighboring farms.

As we reported some months ago, Oluf and Debra Johnson went to the courts when they lost their organic certification (and their crops) due to pesticide drift. They were looking for compensation for these losses, as well as future protection from pesticides drifting onto their farm. An appeals court had ruled favorably on their case — so the Johnsons were hoping for good news from the Supreme Court. Instead, the ruling severely limits potential compensation, and threatens organic enforcement standards across the state.

Linda Wells's picture

Bonnie Wirtz is a new mom living in Melrose, Minnesota. She and her husband moved there to start a farm and raise a family.

What they weren't planning on were the consequences of living in close proximity to frequent pesticide application. After one alarming incident of pesticide drift that put Bonnie in the hospital, this Minnesota mom took up the battle cry against pesticides and how they can harm children's health.