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Pesticide Action Network

Minnesota Updates: April 2020

The latest out of Minnesota: Supporting our communities

As Minnesota 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 Minnesota and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you’d like to recieve these updates via email, sign up here.


State updates

Supporting our communities: As Minnesotans face (at least) two more weeks of Governor Walz’s Stay at Home Order, we are grateful that our state government is responding seriously and nimbly to this pandemic. At the same time, it’s clear that we need to do much more to protect those on the frontlines of harm from COVID-19. While workers deemed “essential” are showing up to keep needed services running, many of these workers do not have the option to stay home, or are experiencing employer pressure to show up to work even if they’re sick. From nurses to farmworkers to grocery store employees, many workers have been paid less than a living wage for years, and are also likely to be on the frontlines of poverty and racism, and without healthcare or documentation.

For those working in food and agriculture, this is a time of uncertainty and urgency as markets, labor, and the food supply are upended. Be sure to check out the MN Department of Agriculture’s resource page on COVID-19, which is updated daily.

Due to the passage of the CARES Act, many people can expect stimulus checks in the mail as early as next week. For those who qualify but are still fortunate enough to be getting a paycheck, consider pledging to #ShareMyCheck with a local project, organization, or a neighbor in need. I’ll be donating mine to the Farmworkers’ Covid Relief Fund, but here are some other great groups organizing emergency aid:

Nationwide updates

National food system resources: Many of the groups who are on the frontlines of harmful impacts from industrial agriculture like pesticides are also on the frontlines of COVID-19 harm. Farmworkers, operators of small farms, food workers and Indigenous communities are all bearing the brunt of this crisis in different ways. PAN has collected some compelling food system resources, both for accessing immediate support and pushing for the longer term, systemic shifts needed.

See ways to support farmworkers, food workers, farmers and Indigenous communities during the pandemic here.

Latest science

Coronavirus stability in aerosol and on surfaces: The pandemic has researchers scrambling to learn more about COVID-19. A new NIH study found that the novel coronavirus was viable in aerosols during the experimental time of three hours. The virus was also found to be more stable on plastic and stainless steel surfaces than on copper and cardboard, and could be detected for up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. On copper and cardboard, the coronavirus survived up to four hours and 24 hours, respectively.

Additionally, a recent CDC study found some virus RNA on surfaces 17 days after infected passengers vacated a cruise ship. However, the NIH study measured viable virus while the CDC study measured RNA only — it is unclear whether the RNA found on cruise ship surfaces means the virus was still active. The results of this study warrant further testing.

Upcoming (virtual) events

Pollinator Friendly Alliance Earth Chapters
Join PFA members for free bite-sized ecology and conservation webinars every Tuesday and Thursday in April.

FreeThemAll Minnesota Week of Action
Join an interfaith coalition of organizations calling for the release of detainees, minimum-security prisoners, and incarcerated people awaiting bail. Social distancing is impossible in Minnesota’s jails and prisons, and vulnerable people are placed directly in harm’s way.

Environmental Quality Board Meeting
This month’s EQB meeting will be held remotely and is open to the public. The MN Department of Agriculture will be presenting on their work to protect pollinators. Comments and questions are encouraged.

Land Stewardship Project Remote Lobby Trainings
Join LSP members to learn how to virtually connect with your legislators and push for important issues like healthcare and the farm crisis — which can’t wait another session.

Lawns to Legumes Workshop
Learn how you can access state funds to increase pollinator habitat in your backyard.

MN Farmers’ Market Association Open Forums
Join other farmers to discuss all issues related to Minnesota Farmers’ Markets including COVID-19.  

Take action

The CARES Act recently passed by Congress authorized billions in agricultural aid to be distributed by the US Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA). The problem? Congress didn’t tell USDA how to distribute the funds and to whom. At this moment, agency officials are making critical decisions about how to disburse the aid.

Urge USDA to ensure authorized funds reach farmers who are providing food to local and regional markets, and goes to actual producers — not corporate agribusinesses.

Take Action


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Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network is dedicated to advancing alternatives to pesticides worldwide. Follow @pesticideaction

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