Picture of Asha Sharma

Asha Sharma

California Updates: July 2021

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.

Hello California PAN folks,

Happy summer! I hope you’re enjoying the long days and sunshine. My name is Asha Sharma and I’m the new California organizer at PAN. I’ve been an organizer, campaigner and researcher in environmental and agricultural policy for a decade now, and have held positions at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Friends of the Earth, Union of Concerned Scientists and Mighty Earth. The campaigns I’ve worked on have contributed to improved environmental policies and food companies identifying and eradicating labor violations, Indigenous land grabs and deforestation from their agricultural supply chains.

My organizing style is simple: build collective campaigns deeply rooted in the lived experiences of impacted communities. At PAN, this means partnering with farmworkers, rural communities and families, farmers of color and Indigenous communities to fight the overuse of toxic pesticides in industrial agriculture.

Outside of work, I love to cook, garden, hike and backpack in the Sierras with my cattle dog mix Frankie. I have permits to hike the John Muir Trail or Nüümü Poyo trail later this summer – a 211-mile route from Yosemite to Mount Whitney. Wish me luck!

Below, you’ll find some updates on the work our California team has been doing alongside our partners, and a couple of ways to get involved. Thank you for being in this work with us – our successes would not be possible without you! I can’t wait to see what else we can accomplish together.

In solidarity,

Asha Sharma
Organizing Co-Director, California

ahsa sharma






State updates

Funding for a better food system: Thanks to our collective advocacy efforts, the California state budget now has $50 million allocated for improved farmworker housing, $10 million for a statewide pesticide notification network and $776 million for sustainable agriculture. You can take action here to urge lawmakers that are working on details of how to allocate the $776 million for sustainable agriculture to support safer and more just agricultural systems.

Climate change & resilience: We have been weighing into the California state scoping plan (which informs how the state will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions) to ensure that pesticide reduction and agroecological farming are included as climate mitigation and resilience strategies. Our public comment even resulted in media coverage in Agri Pulse!

Chlorpyrifos on the way out: As you might remember, California banned the pesticide chlorpyrifos last year, after numerous studies linked the pesticide to brain damage and other health impacts in children. The ban was a culmination of years of collective advocacy efforts and helped lay the groundwork for the recent court ruling ordering EPA to prove chlorpyrifos is safe in 60 days or ban the pesticide. This is a huge national win that could result in the pesticide being banned nationwide – and your tireless advocacy here in California helped lay the groundwork for this impending win!

Take action

Many pesticides used in California agriculture are highly drift-prone and very toxic, but communities aren’t informed when applications are happening — so they can’t choose to stay indoors or close the windows. Chronic exposure to pesticides can cause a host of severe health impacts, including cancer, asthma, and developmental and reproductive harms.

Take action today to ensure that families at home, adults at work, and communities growing our food have the right to know what’s being sprayed near them.

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.

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