As I follow the news from this very unusual (!) presidential election cycle, it's clear that food and farming issues aren't high on the political agenda — which is a shame. Fixing our very broken system could help us tackle a wide range of health, equity and environmental issues, including our resilience in the face of a changing climate.
Last night, my neighborhood gathered for a community potluck. My neighbor David planned kid-friendly activities, including a piñata. He confessed to me that there was no candy inside it, only toys — he had originally bought a big bag of Tootsie Rolls, but when he read "this product made with genetic engineering" on the packaging, he decided to fill the paper maché Minion doll with trinkets instead. David looked at me incredulously: "Tootsie Rolls?!?" As in, how could something so classic include genetically engineered ingredients?
A new study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that when pregnant mothers live within one kilometer of fields where certain pesticides are used, their children are more likely to have lower IQs.
In the 1960s, Black-led protests over police brutality and other discriminatory practices inspired other marginalized groups of people to join social change movements. Fifty years later, it feels as if we are at a similar historical moment, alive with possibilities. Is the food movement ready to step into this moment?
Early this month, California health officials declared Syngenta's flagship herbicide atrazine a reproductive toxicant, adding it to the Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive harm.
Air blaster. Aerial spraying. Fumigation. Unless things change, another school year will go by with pesticides being applied by these methods right outside classroom windows.
[Update: On July 7, the Senate voted to pass this latest version of the DARK Act. The House approved the bill on July 14. It is now headed to the President's desk.]
Earlier this month, dozens of pesticide and industrial agriculture lobbyists filled the halls of California’s Capitol as they worked to defeat the Pollinator Protection Act (SB 1282) on the Senate floor. If passed, this bill that would have created new protections for bees from harmful pesticides, along with ensuring that seeds and plants pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides be labeled as such. But unfortunately, pesticide industry interests prevailed — a deeply disappointing turn of event for those of us working to protect bees.
Pesticide drift happens all too frequently, especially in rural California where homes, schools and agricultural fields can be nextdoor neighbors. Children — the most vulnerable members of these communities — are often the first to experience drift exposure and its resulting health impacts.
EPA recently released its assessement of the ecological risks posed by the widely used herbicide atrazine. Agency scientists found that current exposures greatly exceed its "levels of concern" for chronic risk for birds, mammals and fish — by 22, 198, and 62 times, respectively. When it comes to wildlife harms, these new findings on atrazine are pretty damning.