Without doubt, these are challenging times. Stepping back from the political turmoil that we see here and in the world around us, we are simultaneously confronted with evidence that climate change is fast unravelling the systems of the natural world that have evolved over millennia to create a habitable planet.
For the second year in a row, California is experiencing unprecedented devastation and loss brought about by fires, ripping through communities in both the northern and southern regions of the state.
However, in the midst of destruction and hardship, people have been stepping up for each other in inspiring ways. Numerous online donation platforms have been set up, businesses and organizations are collecting food, clothing and other material donations, and helping hands are coming from many directions.
With 435 House and 35 Senate races on the ballot last week, the 2018 midterms were closely watched across the nation – not least of all by advocates of sustainable agriculture.
On Halloween, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a truly scary announcement -- the agency decided to continue its registration of Monsanto’s (now merged with Bayer) highly controversial dicamba-based herbicide, Xtendimax. The chemical has damaged millions of acres of farmland over the past two seasons of use, and with this decision, the devastation will continue.
In the food movement, people often talk about the importance of “voting” with your dollars. While it's true that smart consumer choices can help build a healthier food system, policies and politics matter too. And often much more.
Rubie Simonsen is the 28 year old Filipino-American farmer behind First Mother Farms. Her property, located in Yuba County, was inherited by Rubie and her sister after their grandmother’s passing. This beloved and fertile legacy, never having been under agricultural production, will now become a small-scale lavender farm, a healing space of spiritual and intellectual richness, and an embodiment of an accumulation of acquired knowledge, resources, experiences and culture.
In mid October, the Food Sovereignty Prize was awarded to two organizations recognized for their commitment to food sovereignty or, “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.”
The Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) has been building power with Florida’s farmworkers for more than 25 years, and is led and governed by farmworkers in the communities in which it works. PAN Senior Scientist Margaret Reeves recently chatted with Jeannie Economos, FWAF’s Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator.
Food doesn’t often play a central role in electoral politics, but in California’s Assembly District 15, a recent candidate forum entitled “Food in the 15th” put food and farming issues at the forefront of a hotly contested race for state Assembly. 200 people attended the forum to hear from Buffy Wicks and Jovanka Beckles, both Democrats, on issues ranging from food access to agriculture’s impact on the environment.
Calls have intensified for California regulators to take state-level action on the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos.
In response to a legal challenge by PAN and our allies, the judges gave agency officials 60 days to ban the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos. But last week, the federal administration appealed a recent court decision ordering EPA to ban chlorpyrifos nationwide.