Picture of Asha Sharma

Asha Sharma

California Updates: April 2023

As California is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN’s 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.

Hi California supporters,

I hope you’re enjoying the warmer days and wildflowers dotting our landscape. With the legislative cycle in full swing, we have our hands full here at PAN. Since 2022 was an election year, about one-third of state legislators this year are new. This provides an important opportunity to cultivate new legislative champions on pesticides and food justice. See below for some exciting updates on the bill we are co-sponsoring this year, and an important opportunity to take action and transition the University of California system campuses to full organic management!

As always, we greatly appreciate your partnership!

Asha Sharma
Organizing Co-Director, California

Establishing an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee at the Department of Pesticide Regulation

After decades of trying to work with DPR to promote common sense pesticide regulations, we’ve witnessed a pro-industry culture that too frequently ignores community concerns. This is evident from the revolving door between DPR leadership and the chemical and agricultural industry, with many past DPR directors and deputy directors leaving their roles to accept jobs with Big Ag – the last director is now employed by pesticide giant Syngenta.

The department especially fails to adequately consider the concerns of residents of color, such as farmworkers, who are most impacted by the health effects of pesticide exposure. So, we are partnering with Assemblymember Alex Lee who is authoring bill AB 652, which would establish an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee at DPR to create more accountability and transparency to the communities most impacted by pesticide exposure. The committee would provide recommendations on how DPR can integrate environmental justice into its decision-making, and DPR would be required to report on how they’re implementing the committee’s recommendations.

We’re happy to report the bill sailed through its first committee hearing, where farmworkers from Tulare county came out in full force with their support. (See our happy faces below!) Stay tuned for more ways you can support the bill, as well as how you can take action on partner bills we’re also backing.

IMG 7539

If environmental justice is a newer concept for you, check out EPA’s definition below, which we are always working on holding them and other agencies accountable to:

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:

  • The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
  • Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Support organic transition at the University of California

The next generation of environmental advocates gives us so much hope, and we have an exciting opportunity to support them. Our partners at Re:wild Your Campus have launched a campaign to transition all UC campuses to organic land management by 2025. Please sign their petition to show your support, and let UC leadership know that hazardous chemical pesticides do not belong on any school campuses!

Take Action
Picture of Asha Sharma

Asha Sharma

Asha 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.

Share this post