It has been a busy four weeks for me since the last Iowa News landed in your inboxes. So much has happened that I probably wrote three or four versions of this edition in my head since then.
I recently had the opportunity to share my experiences using intercropping techniques with a new audience at the Iowa Specialty Producers Conference. One of my primary goals was to promote intentional diversity and complexity in our growing systems — which is one of the tenets of agroecology.
Speaking of agroecology, I was also honored to be one of three people speaking about solutions to the vicious cycle of pesticides and climate change in our recent PAN webinar. It was rewarding to focus on a positive alternative for our food and farming systems, even though I remain fully aware of the dominance of chemical-intensive agriculture.
Iowa Farmers Union asked me to provide a briefing for their lobby day earlier this month, focusing on the issue of pesticide drift. Unlike the other two events, the focus was fully on an existing problem. Chemical trespass is something our farm has experienced more than once, and it can be a difficult topic to dwell on. Yet I still felt encouraged that there were others that would stand beside me on this issue.
All three of these events became tied together in my mind when I was asked by a member of the media, “what do you hope to accomplish by speaking about these things?”
It’s a good question, worthy of a good answer. I believe that we can make progress if we increase awareness. If more people become aware of a problem, that’s one thing, but what if we also expose them to possible solutions? It’s important to recognize when things are wrong and why things have gotten that way, but we also have to build a vision of how good things could be so we know where we are going!
We can’t expect a vision of a diverse landscape in Iowa to magically replace the barren places that have been created over time. But, we can’t make effective change unless we spread awareness how good everything could be if we work together to get there.
Thank you for being willing to consider my thoughts and words. Be well,
PAN’s Communications Manager
Owner/Operator, Genuine Faux Farm, Tripoli, IA
PACTPA reintroduced in US Senate
The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA) was reintroduced in the US Senate by Senator Cory Booker on February 6 and is due to be introduced in the House mid-March. We are pleased to announce that PAN is among the organizations that support its passage! This bill would overhaul US pesticide regulations, ultimately mandating new rules to protect people and the environment. The full text of the bill can be found here.
Much of the language found is this bill could provide a template for the upcoming Farm Omnibus Bill. In particular, there is language that would prevent the override of local pesticide restrictions by state governments.
PAN stands with those who believe that the current proposed carbon capture pipelines are not right for the state of Iowa. The science behind this sort of carbon capture tells us that they are unlikely to have any meaningful positive effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, policies that promote a diversified landscape, including the reintroduction of prairies, woodlots, hayfields and longer crop rotations would be far more effective.
Other opportunities of note
- Practical Farmers of Iowa is hosting weekly 90-minute farminars each Tuesday from noon until 1:30pm. Recordings of past farminars can be viewed here and on PFI’s Youtube channel.
- Iowa Organic Association is looking to hire an Admin Coordinator and an Education and Outreach Coordinator. Both positions are part-time employment.
Written words for you
I wanted to take a moment and share a few articles I have read over the past few weeks that might be of interest to you. This piece by Anne Marshall-Chalmers looks at the value of the hedgerow in our landscape. I found it to be particularly pertinent after considering the ineffectiveness of carbon pipelines to sequester carbon vs the potential of adding more woody perennials to our landscape.
And for those of you who are interested in research, this study found an increase in infant mortality down-river from locations that had heavy glyphosate use.
Each month, progressive action network and phone company CREDO designates three causes to donate to – and this month, PAN has been chosen! But we need your help.
Can you take a minute to vote for PAN? The more votes we get, the greater our share of funding. Your vote would support healthy communities, climate justice, and farming practices that nourish our people and environment.
Thank you for helping us make the most of this opportunity!