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 receive these updates via email, sign up here.
Hello from the PAN Minnesota team!
I’ll get right to it — it has been a rough couple of months for our work. May and June saw major letdowns for environmental activists and groups hoping that this legislative session, our state leaders would pass bills to protect people, pollinators, and our planet from harmful pesticides. I’ve highlighted some of those key happenings in the State Updates section below. . . but with that less than stellar news out of the way, I’m not the sort of person to leave you without hope. As a farmer of color and organizer, I’m here to say resilience is part of our legacy too!
This Juneteenth was the 155th Anniversary of the first celebration of freedom for enslaved Africans, millions of whom were brought to the Americas in chains to plant rice, cotton and other crops that built the economic foundation of this country. This year, over 75 BIPOC farmers, food justice activists and healers gathered at the 40 Acres Coop farm to celebrate liberation and explore ways that we heal ourselves and the land through farming. We reveled in community, ate together, and danced. We talked Hemp, land access, agroecological farming practices, and ways to take collective steps away from chemical agriculture and white supremacist control and toward a future that is life affirming and autonomous. It was a beautiful day and a testament to how we exemplify resilience.
We’re collaborating to build BIPOC land access alliances, Black land projects, cooperative businesses, and imagining new systems and futures. We’re standing up to the old vestiges of power to say “we are the future that will not be denied.”
Keep reading for a few upcoming events I’d encourage you to check out as well. Thanks, as always, for being in this work with us.
Zoe Hollomon, PAN Minnesota Organizer
Fighting for clean groundwater: Earlier this year, a legal battle to protect groundwater from big ag contaminators went to the State Court of Appeals. But the final ruling, which came out in May, was in favor of the Department of Natural Resources, which has refused to hold polluters accountable despite public and environmental health impacts.
Pollinator protection: We were hopeful as we saw the year-round work of local pollinator activists realized as the Minnesota House passed several innovative pesticide reforms to protect essential pollinators and communities across the state. However, a majority Republican Senate then gutted these protections in the bill’s final phase. Initiatives including local control over pesticide use, limiting unsafe disposal of excess pesticide-treated seed, and prohibiting the use of toxic insecticides in Minnesota wildlife refuges and sensitive habitat were removed.
Who is representing you? Minnesota has a legacy of permitting big ag and its supporters to sidestep public accountability. It’s enough to make you ask, “who’s running things here anyways?” The answer is. . . overwhelmingly white men who, as a monolith, don’t reflect the diversity of our population and our values! If you don’t know who’s representing you, check out your State Senators and their voting records — see if they’ve done anything good for you lately.
Midwest Farmers of Color Collective’s Grow Connect Gathering
- Sunday July 11th 3-5pm CT. Contact Hindolo Pokawa for more information.
Water Testing Clinics in N Central MN, hosted by Toxic Taters, Northern Water Alliance & The MN Well Owners Organization.
- August 19th-21st. Contact Toxic Taters for more information.
We know that pesticides have harmful effects on organisms that are critically important to soil health! Soil-dwelling organisms sequester carbon (which fights climate change!), cycle nutrients and water for plant growth, and regulate agricultural pests and disease. Yet U.S. regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aren’t required to consider risk to soil-dwelling organisms in their regulatory review.
Please urge EPA to include soil health in pesticide risk assessments and regulatory decisions, today.