A few weeks ago, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation announced the launch of a new, "first of its kind" air monitoring network designed to look for pesticides drifting into populated areas in the state's fertile agricultural valleys. Weekly samples will be collected over the course of a year in three communities: Shafter, Salinas, and Ripon. Each will be analyzed for 34 pesticides including many neurotoxic insecticides and highly toxic fumigants like methyl iodide. It's an ambitious project, and it's sure to yield a ton of interesting data, yet I just can't get excited about it because: a) PAN's been doing a version of this for years; and b) lack of data isn't the problem at this point.
Cherry blossoms are in full bloom here in Washington D.C. where I’ve spent the last few days participating in the Ecumenical Advocacy Days’ national conference for Global Peace with Justice. Along with some 700 participants, I heard inspiring stories of social justice work being carried out by communities of faith in the U.S. and around the world. Also on display were two under-appreciated facts that the U.S. food movement is slowly coming to appreciate: 1) the deep ties of communities of faith are critical to social change-making; and 2) women farmers are and will remain the real roots of global agriculture.
As evidence linking pollutants and cancer becomes increasingly clear, scientists around the world are calling for something to be done — and they're getting downright pushy about it.
Well maybe not pushy, exactly. But definitely pointed and impatient as they urge policymakers to take steps now to protect us from chemicals that cause cancer.
Last week offered hope for science and strawberries, both. Three newsworthy events marked progress toward the slow crumbling of chemical industry influence on government. Each crack, however small, offers an opportunity toward food democracy, and the use of science in powerful service of the public good.
Once a year we all have an opportunity to recognize the contributions of the country's nearly 2 million farmworkers, and support their efforts to gain the dignity and rights they so deserve. Next Monday, March 27 marks the beginning of National Farmworker Awareness Week, a series of events and activities organized by Student Action with Farmworkers to spotlight these issues and honor the work of legendary labor rights activist Cesar Chavez.
Scientists have found that hot molasses could be key to controlling soil pests, allowing farmers to grow peppers and tomatoes in Florida without using the dangerous fumigant pesticide, methyl bromide. Ending reliance on methyl bromide has been particularly tricky in the sunshine state, where mild winters offer safe harbor for pests and sandy soils can make organic options a challenge. Nonetheless, innovative scientists and farmers are creating ways to grow food without pesticides. The March 2011 edition of Agricultural Research, published by USDA, has the story.
Institute, WV - This morning, March 18, in a “hastily called” court hearing, “Bayer CropScience lawyer Al Emch informed Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin that the company has decided not to resume production of the deadly chemical methyl isocyanate [MIC] at its Institute plant,” reports the Charleston Gazette. It was an MIC explosion that caused the 1984 Bhopal pesticide plant disaster.
The blogosphere and fringe media is full of misinformation and downright lies. If I tried to set the record straight everytime some blogger claimed that DDT is harmless to people, endosulfan is "soft on bees," or that feeding the world requires GMOs then I wouldn't have time to do anything else. And so even though it registered a strong reading on my BS detector, I decided to simply ignore the new article on the American Enterprise Institute's website claiming that triazine herbicides (the class that includes atrazine) are the only thing keeping California almonds free of deadly toxins. But then the Huffington Post reprinted it, and people actually read HuffPo (unlike aei.org), so now here I am, setting the record straight.
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) released a report this week focused on the recent global phenomenon of honey bee deaths, indicating that colony disorders put pressure on an already taxed food system, and urging a shift towards more ecological farming.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the American public’s nearly unified demand for labeling of GMOs. Now, across the country, people are preparing to take to the streets to express their views.
The Millions Against Monsanto campaign is organizing a Rally for the Right to Know in front of the White House on Saturday, March 26. And plans for local rallies are popping up everywhere, including — last I checked — in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennesee and Wisconsin.