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Reclaiming the future of food and farming
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GMO labeling momentum builds

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.

Members of Congress are joining the groundswell of concerned citizens by signing onto a bicameral letter to FDA signaling their support for GMO labeling.

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Margaret Reeves's picture

French scientists say fewer pesticides needed

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.

Margaret Reeves
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Connecticut's 'pesticide-free schools' under attack

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.

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Public outcry blocks worst of Iowa 'Ag Gag' bill

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.

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Stop paraquat in palm plantations

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.

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Margaret Reeves's picture

Wanted: Food & Farm Bill that rewards healthy soil

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.

Margaret Reeves
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PAN's global tribunal got Dow's attention

Recently released emails reveal that Dow Chemical Co., one of the Big 6 pesticide corporations on trial in December's landmark Permanent People's Tribunal, was watching the tribunal very closely.

WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files earlier this week, a release including over five million emails from Stratfor, a company that "provides intelligence services to large corporations." The emails reveal at least half a dozen separate mentions of the tribunal during November and December of last year.

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Advocating for bees in California's capitol

Yesterday, a few dozen people filled a room in downtown Sacramento just blocks from the state Capitol building to celebrate a small but critical ally – the honey bee. They tasted food and drinks made with local honey, and learned about steps they can take to protect the threatened pollinator.

PAN was on hand to provide information about the link between bee declines and increased exposure to a systemic class of pesticides (neonicotinoids), while partners Slow Food Sacramento and the California State Grange explained the importance of pollinators to the food system as well as the agricultural economy.

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Kathryn Gilje's picture

If we build it, the bees will come

Last weekend, my backyard beehive was once again the hub of attention. My nieces (4 and 5 years old) are visiting, so we pulled on bee suits and went out to take a deep look into the hive.

The bees themselves are fascinating to observe, each with their own specialized job, deep into the magic of pollination, building the hive and making honey.

The hubbub around the hive also gave me the chance to talk about how bees and pollinators around the world are in trouble, and how it's up to us, this generation, to make a change.

Today, PAN and Beyond Pesticides are launching our Honey Bee Haven website, where you can meet others who — in the face of policymaker inaction — are building a groundswell of support for honey bees and other pollinators.

Kathryn Gilje
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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Wanted: scientific integrity on GMOs

As reported in this week's UK Guardian, Nina Federoff spoke about threats to science at a meeting of 8,000 professional scientists. The former Bush Administration official and GMO proponent described her "profound depression" at how difficult it is to “get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms.” I too have agonized over our inability to talk seriously about climate change.

However — and this is no small matter — by conflating fringe climate-deniers with established scientists raising valid concerns about the effects of GMOs, Federoff undermines the scientific integrity that she purports to uphold. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
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