With gas prices well over $4/gallon, conversation with my neighbors frequently turns to the vulnerability of our fossil-fuel-based economy and to the future of our planet. The good news I can share today is that organic farms — besides being good for the soil, environment and our health — are proving to be much more energy efficient than conventional systems.
Last week a friend posted a slideshow of her niece on facebook. The girl's father had written a song to accompany the photos of his daughter's battle with leukemia. It made me cry.
The fact that a 5-year-old girl should have to summon such courage takes me quickly from tears to anger. Children should not be battling cancer, yet more and more are forced to do exactly that. A report released last week confirmed that childhood cancer rates are higher than ever before, and continue to climb.
Organic farmers Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin have made a life-long commitment to sustainability and social justice. And as reported in PAN's spring newsletter, they recently won confirmation of their right to farm free of pesticides in a $1 million court case.
Larry and Sandra started farming in San Mateo County, California, in 1980, producing fresh organic culinary herbs. Then in 1985 they began working with the Del Cabo community in Baja California, Mexico, to develop a source of organic fruit and vegetables during the off-season. Today, Del Cabo Cooperative is a thriving community of 400 farmers that sells organic produce across the U.S.
Autism affects many, many more children than we thought, according to a study released this week that stunned experts around the world. Meanwhile, evidence keeps rolling in that exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is at least partly responsible for the epidemic.
We may have finally reached the tipping point, where policymakers can no longer wring their hands and call for more studies — and where wearing a blue ribbon in April to raise awareness is clearly just not enough.
India's Hindustan Insecticide Limited (HIL) is the world's only company still producing DDT. This week, one of HIL's three factories was ordered closed by the Indian state of Kerala for that plant's failure to safely handle waste from the manufacture of endosulfan.
After issuing several warning letters like this one, Kerala's State Pollution Control Board finally issued a closure notice to the HIL plant based in the city of Eloor.
In 2004, a group of public utilities in Illinois took pesticide-giant Syngenta to court to answer for the pollution caused by its flagship herbicide atrazine. Syngenta’s response? Wage a PR campaign against the court itself. While transforming a lawsuit into a media spectacle is a common, if unfortunate, tactic these days, targeting the court itself is a new low.
A big thanks to all who came out Monday night and joined us in what was a lively conversation on Growing Food Democracy: Connecting Global Lessons to Local Action. I was thrilled to see such interest and to meet so many people in the Bay Area so deeply engaged in the work of building a just and sustainable food system.
In California and throughout the country hard-working farmworker men and women face abuses on and off the field in part because they enjoy few legal protections.
On May 16, California legislators will be voting on a proposed law that tackles this issue: The Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act (SB 104). This legislation would strengthen farmworker voices and give them tools to protect the basic rights that most workers already enjoy — and should be wholeheartedly supported.
Last week, the nations of the world agreed that the pesticide endosulfan is too toxic for people and the planet to bear. As our staff scientist Karl Tupper reported from Geneva, 173 countries agreed to ban the chemical through the Stockholm Convention, recognizing that innovative farmers across the globe are already growing coffee, cashew, chocolate and cotton without a drop of the deadly pesticide.
As the sun crested the Berkeley hills early yesterday, I logged on to the Washington Post’s live feed of its daylong conference, The Future of Food. For the next 8 hours, I enjoyed a veritable feast of thoughtful, well-evidenced and deeply inspiring calls to embrace a new agriculture, rooted in community and ecological resilience. The messengers included the Prince of Wales — who seamlessly knitted together the challenges of our failing global food system with a clear vision for the future — Eric Schlosser, Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva and many more.