Reclaiming the future of food and farming


Margaret Reeves's picture

Real change this Labor Day

Far too many of the United State's 80 million workers still don't receive fair wages or adequate workplace protections. This Labor Day, people across the country — in the streets and in Washington D.C. — are joining the call for better labor practices.

In his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this week, President Obama noted: "For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate." Workplace protection policies for many, including farmworkers, have also remained stagnate — and wholly insufficient. Change is long overdue.

Margaret Reeves
Margaret Reeves's picture

Farmworker voices reach Capitol Hill

Today farmworkers from across the country are showing up on Capitol Hill to demand rules that protect them and their families from harmful pesticides. We urge leaders in Washington to listen carefully — and then do the right thing.

EPA has been promising to strengthen existing rules for the past 13 years, but the reality in the fields remains the same: farmworkers regularly face harmful exposures to pesticides. An estimated 10,000-20,000 are poisoned each year, and countless more suffer long term health harms. With today's fly-in, more than a dozen farmworkers from several states will put faces and stories to these numbers for lawmakers, and deliver a simple message: Enough is enough.

Margaret Reeves
Ana Duncan Pardo's picture

Young farmworkers are "Overworked & Under Spray"

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.

Ana Duncan Pardo
Margaret Reeves's picture

A Valentine's Day wish: Fairness for food workers

Every year around this time, I blog about the invisible impacts of how we spend our Valentine’s Day dollars, and why it matters. Our choices for chocolate and flowers can either support innovative farmers and safe, dignified livelihoods for farmworkers whose labor brings you such Valentine’s goodies — or not.

This year I'm broadening my call for food system justice to include not only the millions of workers who harvest our food, but also the millions who work in restaurants to serve it. Did you know that Valentine's Day is the highest grossing day in the restaurant industry? A perfect moment to show your support and raise your voice for farmworkers and restaurant workers alike.

Margaret Reeves
Heather Pilatic's picture

Organic food study "missed the point"

This week’s controversy surrounding a Stanford study claiming to have established that organic food is no more nutritious than non-organic illustrates the pitfalls of talking about food issues in a consumer frame. And people all around the country are saying so.

Food issues are never solely or even mainly about individual consumer choice — our food and farming system connects us with each other and is by most measures our most impactful daily interaction with the environment.

Heather Pilatic
Pesticide Action Network's picture

EPA pulls toxic apple pesticide. Finally!

EPA made an important and long-awaited announcement Thursday when it banned future sales of the highly neurotoxic apple pesticide azinphos-methyl (AZM), also known as Guthion.

This is particularly good news for rural families, farmworkers and children headed back to school. Guthion residues are found on over 30% of U.S. apples.

Pesticide Actio...
Margaret Reeves's picture

Pesticide data on the chopping block

This week PAN joined farmworkers and farmworker advocates in urging Congress to protect a small, unsung program that’s vital to the health and safety of the nation's nearly two million farmworkers: pesticide recordkeeping.

USDA's Pesticide Recordkeeping Program is on the congressional chopping block, though it has long served as an essential tool for the proper identification, treatment and ultimately, prevention of pesticide-related illnesses that are far too common among U.S. farmworkers.

Margaret Reeves
Margaret Reeves's picture

Fair & healthy flowers

Flowers on Valentine's Day? It's a lovely tradition, and I enjoy a gorgeous bouquet as much as anyone. I also do my best to remember — and support — the workers behind the enormous global flower trade.

They are mostly women, many of whom work in Colombia and Ecuador. They toil long hours for low wages, and too often brave exposure to pesticides known to be harmful to their health and the health of their children. They deserve our support.

Margaret Reeves
Margaret Reeves's picture

Safer fields for farmworkers long overdue

Today, PAN and our partners at Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice filed a legal petition demanding that EPA act quickly to better protect farmworkers from hazardous pesticides. These much needed changes would be the first improvements in farmworker protection rules since 1995. The move is long overdue.

Margaret Reeves