My name is Simone, and today I’m introducing myself to you as one of PAN’s Organizing Co-Directors, and sharing connections between PAN’s work in the U.S. and internationally.
I hope you’re finding moments of joy this summer. For me, it’s been full of twists and turns with climate chaos and injustices and uncertainties surrounding the pandemic; yet the work PAN and our partners are doing amidst it all inspires me to keep fighting for a food system that is truly resilient, just, and transformative.
I joined PAN last December and lead our national campaign team and spearhead a campaign within our international team. I came to PAN with a decade of experience doing community organizing and movement building for food sovereignty. I organized locally for food justice and engaged in international campaigns to push back against corporate agriculture in Africa, Haiti and Honduras. My organizing approach is rooted in solidarity with those most impacted by the food system. I’ve learned from direct actions against injustice on Ohlone land in the Bay Area where I used to live, and where I live now on Duwamish land, Seattle. When I’m not putting my creative energy into strategy, I make art on collective liberation, and play clarinet in a Klezmer band, Shpilkis.
Around the world, social movements are fighting corporate control of the food system. Many of the corporations profiting from poisonous pesticides and causing biodiversity loss are based in the U.S. They push false solutions for the hunger and climate crises by interfering in democratic processes. PAN pushes back against this corporate influence locally and globally as a part of the PAN International network, and with our partner and ally organizations on the ground.
CropLife International, the global trade association representing corporations like Bayer and Syngenta, has proposed a partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). We’ve teamed up with our allies to demand that FAO reject the proposal.
We know we’ve got to tackle corporate influence in our food and farming systems. The current CropLife president served as senior advisor to the FAO on Private Sector Engagement Strategy, and the new Deputy Director of FAO comes from agribusiness tied to Corteva (formerly Dow/Dupont, another CropLife member). That’s why we’re demanding FAO implement a conflict of interest policy to prevent this type of revolving door.
Corporate influence extends to our U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, too. A couple weeks ago, we organized a National Day of Action to #BanChlorpyrifos and demand the EPA not bow to industry pressure to keep spraying this brain-harming & bee-killing pesticide on our food and other crops. Thankfully, EPA recently announced a ban on use of chlorpyrifos on all food crops!
Read on for more updates from our international and national team work.
PAN and PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) are co-coordinating a campaign to demand FAO not enter a #ToxicAlliance with CropLife International, and to implement a conflict of interest policy. FAO’s mandate is to reduce hunger through sustainable food production that supports farmers – yet an alliance between FAO and CropLife would tie FAO with manufacturers of harmful pesticides. We’ve mobilized over 350 civil society organizations from 63 countries, 250 scientists and researchers, and nearly 50 funding agencies; have coordinated multiple days of action, brought our campaign to several events, launched a petition, and are targeting influencers at FAO to push our demands.
At the end of July, the UN held a Pre-Summit to the UN Food Systems Summit, which has been highly criticized for being captured by corporate interests. CropLife has been using the UNFSS to advance their agenda of “innovative technology” and are coopting the narrative of food systems transformation. Read our newest campaign blog here, which includes our video that was part of the People’s Counter-Mobilization to Transform Food Systems!
A recent in-depth report from The Intercept documented the inappropriate cozying up to regulators, industry manipulation of scientific evidence papers, and aggressive campaigns that pesticide corporations have done to meddle in the EPA in order to keep their toxic pesticides on the market. If you haven’t yet, check out our recent blog calling on EPA Administrator Regan to ensure the agency work for the people, not the pesticide industry.