By 1982, the luster of industrial agriculture—the so-called “Green Revolution”—had faded in developing countries. The promised dramatic increases in yields from “miracle” hybrid grains that required high inputs of water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides failed to deliver and were revealed as campaigns to sell technology to people who couldn’t afford it. Local communities were losing control over their own food systems, and women and children shouldered more of the fieldwork—and bore the brunt of pesticide exposure. The global pesticide trade was, however, yielding dramatic profits for chemical companies as more and more farmers were trapped on a pesticide treadmill.
That was the world when PAN was founded.