California Updates: November 2021 | Pesticide Action Network
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California Updates: November 2021

Asha Sharma's picture

As California is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN and partners' work in California and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you'd like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.

California PAN Supporters,

I hope this update finds you well as the days get shorter! We’ve been hard at work the past few months continuing to fight for the equitable and ecologically-sound food and farming systems we all want to see. While the state legislature has been in recess, our efforts have focused on influencing key state agencies that regulate our food and agriculture sectors. You’ll find some updates on that work below.

We’ll be spending the rest of 2021 refining our campaign strategy for the next legislative session and calendar year, so expect more opportunities to make your voice heard by state leadership in 2022! In the meantime, I, for one, am looking forward to some R&R and time with family and friends during the upcoming holiday season and hope the same for you. Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Asha Sharma
Organizing Co-Director, California

 

 

 

 

 

Statewide pesticide notification

As you may remember, the state government included $10 million in this year’s budget for the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop a statewide pesticide notification system. Ultimately, our goal is to eliminate the use of dangerous pesticides in agriculture, but in the meantime residents have the right to be notified in advance if toxic pesticides will be applied near areas of concern so they can take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.

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We’ve been helping to organize a groundswell of support for a robust notification system that would:

  • Create a fully transparent web-based system available to all without sign-ups or having to share personal information, with an option for opt-in alerts through email or text
  • Begin posting information on use of pesticides classified as restricted immediately, since farmers are already required to notify the county when planning to apply restricted pesticides
  • Provide notification at least 72 hours prior to application of all highly hazardous pesticides as identified by scientists
  • Post notification information in multiple languages, including Spanish and commonly spoken Indigenous languages including Mixteco, Zapoteco and Triqui
  • Establish a community-led working group to develop the pesticide notification system alongside DPR

We encourage you to send an email to DPR by November 19 urging them to incorporate these elements into the notification system in order to best protect frontline communities.

Pesticides and climate change

We’ve continued to demand that California state agencies recognize agroecological farming and reduction in chemical pesticide use as key strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We’ve met with agency staff and submitted public comments encouraging state climate strategies and programs to include strong targets that reduce chemical pesticide use, increase the adoption of organic and agroecological farming practices, and provide direct support to frontline communities and workers most impacted by the climate crisis.

So far, a coalition of 76 environmental justice organizations, farmers, pest advisors and non-profit partners have signed onto our letter calling on the California Natural Resources Agency to adopt an ambitious pesticide reduction target to: 1) Reduce the use of all synthetic pesticides by 50% by 2030, and 2) Reduce the use of hazardous pesticides by 75% by 2030.

Our message is clear — there is strong consensus that California needs to move away from toxic and exploitative agricultural systems to combat and prepare us for the climate crisis. We will continue to work with our partners to advocate for a meaningful statewide goal to reduce synthetic pesticide use in California.

Holding the line on labor standards

We’re in strong support of our partner labor organizations working to ensure that Cal/OSHA labor standards continue requiring employers to provide farmworkers and other frontline workers paid time off in the event of COVID-19 infection or exposure. So far, we’ve held the line and the required exclusion pay has remained in the temporary COVID-19 standards. Our goal is for this requirement to become a permanent California regulation.

Asha Sharma
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Asha Sharma's picture
Asha Sharma

Asha is PAN's Organizing Co-Director for California. She has a decade of experience as an environmental and agricultural justice campaigner, organizer and researcher. She is passionate about agroecology and supporting food-growing communities in building power. Her previous work at the Union of Concerned Scientists and Mighty Earth resulted in dozens of agricultural and food companies improving their conservation and human rights standards and practices. She received her M.S. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas at Arlington. Asha is from Dallas, Texas and currently lives in Berkeley, California. In her free time, she loves to cook, garden and hike with her dog Frankie.