Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Please take action

My kids love strawberries. They want them every time we go to the farmer's market, and all season long they gobble them up. Plain, with whipped cream, in smoothies, on shortcake, in all ways they love the little berries.

I was too late ordering berry plants this year, so they are only getting a handful from old plants in the garden. Each one is watched carefully, and when the berry is ripe, one lucky kid gets it.

I only buy organic strawberries, as the fields conventional berries grow in are fumigated with methyl bromide -- strawberries are frustrating to grow organically. But methyl bromide makes the people who apply it sick, and it's ozone-depleting.

(I know, some people will say that growers are required to provide safety gear for their workers, and follow best practices about application of toxic substances, etc. That's true. It's also expensive, and when money and ethics collide, sometimes the health of a worker isn't the number one consideration. Until I personally believe that every grower treats their workers the same way they would treat their own minor children, I buy organic. It's a small price to pay from my privileged place for better health for someone planting and picking my strawberries.)

Now, the State of California is about to approve a different fumigant for berry fields -- methyl iodide. It doesn't deplete the ozone, but is spectacularly toxic and carcinogenic. If public outcry isn't big enough, this thing is going to be approved on June 29. I have my doubts about the strength of online petitions, but if you'd like to be counted as standing against this approval, you can go here and sign the petition. I don't know how else to contact the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, but if you do, go ahead. Feel free to pass this on to everyone you know who might have contacts or abilities to make a difference.

The children of strawberry field workers deserve nothing less.


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I agree completely, and it's only organic strawberries here. I'm rather appalled at the thought that this fumigant could be approved. Thanks for the petition link!

michelle said...

That stuff is supposed to be an improvement over methyl bromide?!

Those chemicals don't only make farm workers sick, they make people who live next door to or downwind from strawberry fields sick also. It's also bad for the environment, bad for the soil, bad all around.

We all deserve better, it's a small world.

Thanks for post.

Jackie said...

Yes, I agree with Michelle. It's not just the farm workers, but the neighboring communities. Really, it's everybody, since our air and groundwater can be polluted, as well.

I signed the petition link...maybe it went somewhere :)

janie said...

I found some info on the CA Dept. Of Licensing and Regulation.

This is the link for the Licsnsing and Certification program.

This is for the Agricultural Pest Control Advisory Committee (APCAC)

This link shows who is in charge of what, and how to contact them.

I followed your link. I hope these will help you. You may have to copy and paste these.

Good luck.

Mr. H. said...

Wow, that's kind of sad and frightening at the same time, makes me glad we are able to grow our own. The worst part is that most people are probably unaware of the things that are done to our food before it hits the super market shelves...and you are right, most of the time big money does not care so much about the people that help create it.

kitsapFG said...

Well said. People ask me why I bother growing our own vegetables and a large amount of our fruits when we obviously can afford to buy anything we could want. But it is exactly this kind of stuff that compells me to boycott factory farmed food whereever possible. I cannot stop them necessarily but I can say "no" by not buying or consuming it.

GP @ ABloominBlog said...

Have signed the petition, though being from Canada don't know how much good it will do.

Nonetheless, we in North America have to take a stronger stand against this stuff., and against "frankenstein food".

Kristin said...

Thanks for this post. I did take action and totally condone this sort of grass-roots effort among garden bloggers to make a difference. It all helps.