Reclaiming the future of food and farming
Paul Towers's picture

Safer strawberries or false choices?

California officials appear poised to make a decision that would spell safer strawberry fields and spur farmer innovation away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer solutions. That is, if pesticide proponents don’t get in the way.

After months of delay and years of review, next Friday the state plans to release a new series of "mitigations" (government speak for "protections") for the difficult-to-control fumigant pesticide called chloropicrin. And after a prolonged public hearing and comment process, the adequacy of these protections — from no-spray buffer zones to public disclosure issues — will be under intense scrutiny. 

Paul Towers
Judy Hatcher's picture

What a year!

Looking back at 2014, I'm proud of the progress we've made on some of our long-standing issues. And, in light of the country's renewed conversations about fairness and justice, it's good to be reminded of how much we can accomplish when we're committed to listening, learning and working together. 

Our movement is powered by a diverse, energized network of allies who coalesce around specific values and actions, often over the course of several years. Some of our work moves quickly, and some more slowly than we'd like. But either way, we're clearly making progress.

Judy Hatcher
Paul Towers's picture

Still in the dark on labeling

No doubt, this week has been a tough one for advocates of transparency in food and farming. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee spent Wednesday debating the merits of labeling genetically engineered food — and foreshadowing bigger congressional fights in 2015 — while the Oregon GE labeling initiative was handed a near-certain defeat by the courts.

H.R. 4432 (Pompeo), dubbed by critics as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act, will likely be reintroduced early next year. And if passed, it would undermine any state or local mandates for labeling GE food — keeping U.S. consumers in the dark about the foods we eat and the way they're grown.

Paul Towers
Emily Marquez's picture

Little Things Matter: Shifting IQs down a notch

We know that certain environmental contaminants are linked to decreases in children's intelligence quotient (IQ). A recently released seven-minute video, titled "Little Things Matter," explains what scientists know about this association — and why it's important.

Emily Marquez
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Agroecological farming — better than ever


Organic farmers who use agroecological practices build healthy soil, conserve water, protect pollinators and keep the air and water clear of harmful pesticides. We owe them thanks for this. They also produce bountiful crops.

Yesterday, these hard-working farmers received an important boost of recognition from the scientific community with the release of findings from a major new study comparing the productivity of organic and conventional farming.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Keep food safety rules fair

Food safety matters to us all, and we all play a role in keeping food safe — from farm to fork. With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalizing new food safety rules, it's critical for farmers and eaters alike to speak up and ensure the agency gets these rules right.

As our friends from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) point out, provisions in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — if done wrong — run the risk of "putting farmers out of business, limiting consumer choice, and increasing the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers."

Pesticide Actio...
Kristin Schafer's picture

Seeds of (policy) change

Before we move fully into the busy end-of-year season, it seems useful to take a moment to step back, take a breath and take stock of where we landed after the mid-term elections. Some surprisingly heartening lessons emerge.

We're all familiar with the high-level analysis by now — the very big impact of big money, ascension of climate-deniers to Senate leadership, polarization of politics, etc. But as you dig a bit deeper, a more optimistic picture comes into focus. From community pushback of corporate control to a rekindled conversation about national food policy, some very real, very hopeful shifts are in motion.

Kristin Schafer
Paul Towers's picture

Who's calling the shots?

Two weeks ago, sitting next to the current director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and across from the former director-turned-Clorox lobbyist, I hoped for the best. We sat around a table discussing alternatives to hazardous pesticide use on homes, schools and in agriculture.

But progress on this front can often feel like an uphill battle. And as a recent Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) piece pointed out, chemical corporations and their lobbyists are all too often dominating policy conversations.

Paul Towers
Medha Chandra's picture

Thankful for bounty, motivated for change

At my Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, we’ll be talking about what we’re thankful for. I'm very thankful to live in the resource-rich state of California, the topmost producer of fruits and vegetables in the country. And I'm thankful for the hard, often dangerous work that thousands of farmworkers do across the state to help bring nature’s bounty to our table. 

I'm also thankful for the growing awareness that food choices matter. People in California — and across the country — are beginning to see that choosing food grown without chemical pesticides is not only healthier for their own families, but can help protect the health of farmers and farmworkers, families in rural communities and children everywhere. This is real and exciting progress.

Medha Chandra