When farmer Jim Cochran walked into his strawberry patch before dawn one morning, he didn’t know that, by the time the sun rose, he would be sick, poisoned by powerful pesticides.
To protect his crop from predatory insects, just before daylight he’d had his strawberry fields sprayed. The bright sun activated those chemicals on his strawberry plants–and on him after he walked through the rows, contaminating his clothing and skin with the toxic soup.
Reeling with the effects of the poison, Jim thought about his farm workers, exposed to those pesticides many times a season. When he recovered, he knew he had to do something, not just for himself and his family, but for the consumers–you and me–who bought his strawberries, and for the farm workers who bring them to us so cheaply.
And so was born the organic strawberry movement. Watch Jim’s story here.
Strawberries top the Dirty Dozen
Today, conventionally grown strawberries top the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen–that list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues likely to end up in our bodies. Those pesticides include powerful neurotoxins, known carcinogens, hormone disruptors and much more, risking our health, and our children’s.
Cochran’s sudden illness that morning, directly related to the chemicals he’d exposed himself to, woke him up, not only to the risk to his family and his customers, but to the workers he employed. He changed how he grew his strawberries. He changed his employment practices too.
“It costs a lot more money to farm this way,” EarthJustice, who produced this video, quotes Cochran, “but I don’t see any point in farming organically without paying a proper wage and providing good benefits and working conditions.”
Protect yourself and your family
According to the Pesticide Action Network, in 2009, USDA scientists found 45 pesticide residues on strawberries bound for our tables. Of those
- Six are known or probable carcinogens
- Sixteen are suspected hormone disruptors
- Seven are neurotoxins
- Six are developmental or reproductive toxins
- Twelve are toxic to honeybees
Get those pesticides off the shelf!
How? I’m just one person. You’re just one person. Apart from paying more for organic strawberries, what can you and I do to keep these toxic chemicals out of our bloodstreams, out of our food supply and off the shelf? Plenty.
Here’s one easy answer for you right now: Sign the petition. Go to the EarthJustice web site and sign their petition to ban dangerous neurotoxic pesticides that are poisoning workers and damaging children’s brains.
And a third: Pass this information along any way and every way you can.
Sign the petition for Earth Day 2016
Tomorrow we celebrate Earth Day for the forty-sixth time. Taking these three steps above are one small way you and I can make a big difference in what’s to come.
Won’t you sign the petition linked above? Then come back and tell me what you think.
How much did you know about pesticides on your food already? What did you learn new today? What changes for you, going forward? What else can we do to help protect our food supply and the workers who bring our food to us? If you could imagine a world where everyone had enough nutritious, healthy, vibrant food to eat, what would that world be like? What would your typical day be like?
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