Much as the chemical industry complains about regulation, the regulatory process in the U.S. is largely captured by corporate interests. Corporations wield unmatched money and influence, and regulatory agencies rely on industry-funded studies, antiquated legal frameworks and inadequate enforcement tools.
Playgrounds, daycare centers and schools: every parent hopes these are safe places, where children can flourish and grow. Unfortunately, pesticides used in and near schools and playgrounds can make children an unintended ‘frontline community,’ exposing them to dangerous chemicals just when their developing brains and bodies are especially vulnerable.
Rural life in the U.S. has long meant hard work and healthy living, and farm families and Indigenous communities have been steady stewards of the land. Yet since the advent of industrial agriculture after World War II, the on-the-ground reality of country life has changed.
Decades after Edward R Murrow’s Harvest of Shame documentary and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, U.S. farmworkers still face many of the same problems: extreme poverty punctuated by substandard housing and lack of access to clean water, adequate food, healthcare, and education.
Every infant born today carries a chemical body burden passed from mother to child during pregnancy. This burden will mostly grow throughout a lifetime of exposure to chemicals in food, air, water and everyday products.
The overwhelming majority of pesticides used on U.S. farms do not show up on our food. And yet,
What happens when we view people as citizens rather than consumers and treat food as a human right? Food democracy.
"Food democracy" may sound lofty, but it is in fact a very practical idea emerging from communities in places like Michigan and Oklahoma struggling to feed themselves without starving future generations.
Humans have been farming for 10,000 years. Sixty years ago, after World War II, we started industrializing U.S. farming operations through a mix of policy decisions and accidents of history. This method of farming is neither inevitable nor efficient. More to the point, it can't be sustained.