As a cooking instructor, one of my obvious objectives is to teach people how to prepare simple, tasty and healthy meals at home. Yet there's another essential aspect of what I do, one which flies under the radar of most food television shows and cooking magazines: helping people understand how our food is grown, how these growing practices can affect our health and how to shop accordingly.
Do you need clean and safe water? So do farmworker communities along California's central coast. Yet for far too long, their water has been polluted and contaminated by unsustainable agricultural practices.
This week, our organization is joining with partners to press the Regional Water Quality Board to address the severe water pollution problems the communities in this region face. A new Agricultural Waiver that would help has been under study, review and discussion for the past four years. Now it's time for local policymakers to take action.
In the past year, there have been a slew of studies showing that when a child is exposed to certain pesticides — whether before birth or while eating conventionally-grown food — his or her IQ may drop. Sometimes by several points.
But what does this really mean? As a society, what might the impacts be? In short, should we be worried? The answer, according to one recent study, is an emphatic and sobering "yes".
A raging public controversy over genetically engineered (GE) rice in China captured media attention in recent months, and has culminated in a surprising win. A few weeks ago, the country’s State Council released a new Draft Food Law1 that, if passed, would protect the genetic resources of China’s food crops and restrict the application of GE technology in its main food crops.
This is significant progress in the effort by farmers and campaigners in China and indeed across Asia to protect the genetic integrity, diversity and heritage of their rice.
The call for labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods continues to grow louder. The Just Label It campaign — with more than 500 partner organizations — is well on its way to collecting one million comments urging the Food and Drug Adminstration to mandate GE (or GMO) labeling.
A new study by French scientists demonstrates that pesticide use can be dramatically reduced — maybe even by half — without impacting crop yields or farm income.
And the French government is acting on the findings, pledging to cut chemical inputs in the country's agricultural fields in half by 2018. Why not, if it means spending less while maintaining yields and reducing risks of exposure to hazardous pesticides? Any responsible government would do the same.
In 2005, Connecticut passed a landmark law prohibiting the use of hazardous pesticides in schools. And ever since, the state has been successfully ensuring that children are exposed to fewer chemicals where they learn, play and grow.
Now this historic program is under attack. A proposed state law — supported by the pesticide industry — would reverse Connecticut’s strong stance on keeping schools pesticide-free. Connecticut groups and concerned legislators are fighting back.
Last week, the Iowa Senate amended and passed the controversial Ag Gag Bill, which originally criminalized reporting of conditions at agricultural operations in the state.
Thanks to a great deal of public opposition to the original bill, including from PAN supporters, amendments removed all language about recordings taken of agricultural operations. The bill now focuses on tougher penalties for anyone who obtains access to agricultural operations under false pretenses.
Pesticide use on the massive palm oil plantations throughout Asia and the Pacific is putting the health of communities and agricultural workers at risk. This week, PAN's office in the region will press palm oil companies to stop use of the most dangerous pesticides, including the infamous herbicide paraquat.
PAN's resolution and petition will be presented on March 8 to the meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization made up of companies that produce, market, invest and trade in palm oil, as well as environmental and other nonprofit organizations. The list of companies involved includes U.S. giants such as Cargill, Nestle, and Unilever.
The 2012 Food and Farm Bill discussions on Capitol Hill are underway. The first Senate hearing, held this week, focused on conservation. Among other important topics addressed: the idea of tying crop insurance payments with soil conservation. We say yes, definitely!
This month and next the Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), will hold three more hearings. Hearings in the House begin next month. PAN and our allies in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) will be closely following the debates.