PAN Iowa News, pollinator on wildflowers
Rob Faux

Rob Faux

Iowa News: December 2023

Our first killing frost came to our farm in October, which means we celebrated an event Tammy and I have named “Frost’s Eve.” This event actually can extend more than one day if we have fair warning for a cold snap that will most certainly terminate many of our vegetable crops.

When Frost’s Eve is on the horizon, we find ourselves doubling our efforts to get significant work done before it’s too late and the opportunity is taken from us. A beautiful crop like these paprika peppers would cease to be attractive after the cold takes a bite out of them.

Regardless of whether you can relate to this because you also grow food or flowers outside, you can probably appreciate how a looming deadline can encourage all of us to finally complete tasks that we’ve never quite found the time to do. You may also understand that we are always working on the farm to get ahead of those deadlines. We would much rather avoid the “emergency mentality” that is sure to happen if we wait until there are mere hours before the cold takes our options away from us.

When it comes to embracing the principles of agroecology and breaking our food and farming systems’ dependence on pesticides, I hope it won’t take the equivalent of a Frost’s Eve to motivate change. We can read the patterns and see the trends that tell us a deadline is approaching, sooner or later. That should be more than enough to motivate us to act.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if time is short. What matters is that we constantly work together to make things better. That is the recipe that leads to success on a small-scale, diversified farm — even if a frost comes along and forces us to work at an even quicker pace each year.

In this Iowa News, I am including several opportunities where you can work with me to prepare for Frost’s Eve, whenever it should happen to occur. We’re doing our best at PAN to make it easier for you to speak out. Please scroll down and consider taking each action I have linked there.

Putting the chlorpyrifos ban on food crops back in place

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned EPA’s ban of chlorpyrifos, a dangerous neurotoxic pesticide which can cause permanent harm to the developing brains of children. The ruling says EPA’s ban was “arbitrary and capricious,” but the science is unequivocal: there is no safe use of chlorpyrifos in food production.

At the time of the ban, EPA Administrator Michael Regan called it an “overdue step to protect public health,” and vowed that “EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first.”

We want to encourage Administrator Regan to keep that vow. We are confident in saying there is no safe level of chlorpyrifos in our food. The EPA needs to reinstate the chlorpyrifos ban as soon as possible to prevent further harm from exposure to this chemical.

Nearly 6000 people have already taken this action to tell EPA to act. We’ve made it easy for you to join them. Take this link and follow the instructions to add your voice!

Saying “no” to pesticide preemption language

Only 7 states allow cities and towns to implement stronger pesticide regulations — local governments in the remaining 43 are “preempted” from doing so by their state government. Iowa is one such state. However, Iowans also know that local governments are often better at assessing their particular needs when it comes to protections from pesticides.

The pesticide industry has been backing language to remove local control for years. Now they are targeting the upcoming Farm Bill, working to strip local control from ALL states. If this language is allowed to become law, nearly 150 communities across the country would see their protective pesticide laws made invalid. It would also make the fight to return local control in Iowa even more difficult. This will impact each of us and the communities where we live.

Urge your legislators to oppose preemption language in the Farm Bill. Preemption forces communities into a “one size fits all” approach to policy that keeps us from responding quickly to issues that impact our local environment, health, and economy.

PAN is offering an opportunity to join others in writing your representatives, telling them to say no to preemption language in the upcoming Farm Bill. We’ve made it easy. The letter is written and our action will automatically send the letter to your representatives based on your location.

PACTPA will help protect children

Our children are at risk from exposure to hazardous pesticides. Yet current US pesticide rules allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market for decades, even after scientific evidence shows significant harm to people.

The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA) seeks to make significant and positive changes to our pesticide law. PACTPA would close loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides even before they go through full health and safety reviews.

It’s time to put people — and especially our children — over pesticide corporations’ bottom lines. Urge your Representatives in the US House to co-sponsor and support passage of the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act, today!

A look into some of the work I do with PAN

I am honored to write the Iowa Newsletter and share some of the work that I do as a part of the PAN team. One of my tasks this past year has been to help create the actions I have featured here. We work to identify opportunities to push our federal and state agencies and representatives to move away from supporting a chemical-intensive, corporate controlled food and agriculture system.

Instead, we seek to move towards systems based on the principles of agroecology which encourage us to be good stewards of the land. These principles also seek to provide opportunities for more people, from wide and diverse backgrounds, to serve as stewards.  When you take the actions I have offered in today’s newsletter, you honor our work while also speaking out to let our decision-makers know what our vision is for the Land Between Two Rivers and the rest of the United States.

Thank you for being willing to consider my thoughts and words.
Rob Faux,
Communications Manager for PAN
Owner/Operator, Genuine Faux Farm, Tripoli, IA

Rob Faux

Rob Faux

Rob Faux is PAN’s Communications Manager, joining the organization in 2020. He has owned and operated the Genuine Faux Farm near Tripoli, Iowa with his spouse, Tammy, since 2004, growing produce and raising poultry for local sales. They are committed to sustainable growing practices and have maintained organic certification since 2007. In a former life, Rob worked as a software engineer and a post-secondary educator in Computer Science.

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