Approximately every five years the U.S. Congress passes a multi-billion dollar set of policies collectively known as the Farm Bill — although it really should be called the “Food and Farm Bill” since about 80% of funds support food access and nutrition programs. Other policies include crop insurance and subsidies to large commodity crop growers (like corn and soybean), as well as a variety of small but vital supports to help new farmers get started. There are also programs to support family farmers implementing practices to better protect soil, water and pollinator resources.
In these troubled times I’m eager to find rays of hope. In the world of food and farming, one such glimmer is the growing recognition by gardeners and farmers, consumers and politicians that healthy soil is essential to our community and planetary well-being.
Scott Pruitt's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — in yet another subversion of justice — is bowing to industry interests to delay implementation of two 2015 rules designed to better protect farmworkers and their families from harmful pesticide exposure. How is that "protection?"
This Farmworker Awareness Week, please join me in celebrating the two million men and women who toil throughout the year, coast to coast in U.S. agricultural fields bringing a cornucopia to tables in this country and around the world.
After 15 long years of research and public input, the Environmental Protection Agnecy (EPA) finalized urgently needed improvements to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) on September, 2015. With the political landscape now in flux, the agency is facing strong push-back from Big Ag representatives on these new farmworker protections.
In late September, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a draft plan for protecting schoolchildren in agricultural communities from drift-prone, health-harming pesticides. The agency's proposed pesticide use rules don't do nearly enough — luckily, some farmers are already doing much more.
In brief, these are the proposed new rules:
Regenerative agriculture can reverse climate change within our lifetime. That's the inspiring, well-documented message of longtime farmer and author Eric Toensmeier in his new book The Carbon Farming Solution.
Can the marketplace help reform the food system and bring justice to farmworkers? Yes it can. And it just did!
Along with partners across the country, PAN is strongly opposing the recent raids and deportations of immigrant families from Central America. As you may have heard, these Department of Homeland Security (DHS) raids are taking place in communities across Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. And they represent the antithesis of the immigration reform we so urgently need.
Monday was a great day for the nation’s two million farmworkers and their families. On September 28, EPA released its long-awaited improved rules for the protection of farmworkers from on-the-job exposure to hazardous pesticides.
While we didn't get everything we hoped for, the rules are now much, much stronger than they've been for the past 20 years. And that’s a real victory!