The last few weeks have seen encouraging momentum around the world in protecting bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides. As bees are responsible for pollinating one out of every three bites of food we eat — making them key actors in our food system — this news is extremely welcome.
On the small, mixed-fruit orchard I farm along California's Central Coast, confused apple trees spurt scattered blossoms in December, signaling that the weather patterns of yesteryear are being replaced by something new. With increasing drought, heat and disease pressure, any farmer will attest to the challenging impacts of climate change these days.
National poll results released this week confirm that farmers across the country believe the merger of Bayer and Monsanto will be bad for farming and farm communities. As the Department of Justice considers its final decision regarding the merger, the poll demonstrates serious concern from farmers and some details about why many believe more consolidation will be harmful.
PAN board member Kyle Powys Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability and a member of the Potawatomi Nation. PAN’s Executive Director Kristin Schafer recently chatted with Kyle about Indigenous food sovereignty and how PAN’s work intersects with his own.
What were they thinking over at The Atlantic? Last week, the normally fact-focused magazine and media company hosted an event entitled "Harvest: Transforming the Food We Eat" in New York City — and the evening was wholely underwritten by the Agricultural Division of DowDuPont.
In October 2015, we celebrated with farmworker unions and advocates when a much-improved Worker Protection Standard (WPS) was approved. The WPS is the only federal rule that protects farmworkers from exposure to hazardous pesticides on the job, and hadn't been updated in more than 20 years.
Not surprisingly, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it is planning to put the new rules on hold.
On a brilliant day in July, twenty-some years ago, I stood ankle-deep in the cool mud of a fragrant rice field in central Thailand, listening to the farmers around me discuss the bugs on the plants (were these “satru puut” or “satru thammachat”? pests or natural enemies?), and whether or not the Nitrogen-fixing aquatic Azolla they had introduced into one of their experimental plots would do more to increase their yields than the chemical fertilizer in the comparison plots.
I try to be optimistic, but the past year hasn't been a great one for science.
The "war on science" you hear people talking about? It's real, and we're already seeing its results. Without input from researchers on the leading edge of science, policymakers are less equipped to make informed decisions — and it's easier for industry lobbyists to get their way.
As the new legislative year kicked off in January, PAN joined food and farm groups across California in distributing a report card for California legislators, scoring them on their support of food & farming legislation from the previous year. And while nearly half of legislators earned a 100% ranking, the results belie efforts by legislators to advance more transformative policies.
With the 2018 growing season approaching, agricultural states across the country are stepping up to ensure farmers don’t experience the same pesticide drift epidemic that wreaked havoc on farmland last summer.
Application of the drift-prone herbicide in question, dicamba, led to an estimated 3.6 million acres of crop damage last year after a rushed approval of Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seed line.