And happy May! There always seems to be a lot going on as summer gets ready to break, but it's especially true this year in the realm of pesticides and policy. With budget cuts threatening our nation's conservation programs, and proposed legislation that would amend a major pesticide law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act - FIFRA) to "improve the use of certain registered pesticides," we have lots of work to do.
Yep...I said amending FIFRA to "improve" the use of pesticides. The bill that proposes to do this is S. 718 - a Senate companion to the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (HR 872) that passed the house back in March. By improve, this bill means to eliminate permitting requirements that protect our waterways from pesticides.
We don't consider that an improvement. If you don't either, be sure to see this month's Take Action column.
Once you've done that, you'll be in better shape to enjoy all the positive things that are currently happening or in the works: two events in Idaho focused on farmers, food, and the environment, an author speaking on urban gardening; new reports from our partners advocating for Right To Know and less pesticide use in schools; organic farmers standing up to congress; and workshops to reduce pesticide use in multi-family housing.
As usual, it's because of your support that this work is possible.
Thank you, and enjoy!
Kim Leval, Executive Director
Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)
Visit our website at www.pesticide.org for information and the latest news!
Organic farmers at the Capitol, courtesy of NSAC
Farmers to the Rescue
Last month, when he could have been in the field preparing to plant his spinach, organic farmer Jim Bronec was headed to Washington, DC. He had been there once before as a teenager to see the sights, but this was to be a different kind of trip.
Investing in an infrastructure for sustainable agriculture is essential if we are to ensure a future that offers both environmental quality and plentiful, healthy food. This is true not just for the northwest, but for the entire country and the world. Yet sadly, funds for organic programs make up less than one percent of the overall USDA budget. More upsetting is the fact that this already small portion of the federal budget has been further diminished by drastic budget cuts in 2011.
Securing funds that will allow organic programs to continue in 2012 has become a serious priority for organic farmers like Jim Bronec. It’s also a priority for NCAP and our partner groups. That's why, as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), we helped Bronec travel to Washington, DC to meet with some of the decision makers who will determine next year's budgets.
Read the whole story
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Workshops
NCAP's Aimee Code shows one participant signs of cockroaches
This month, NCAP and partners from Oregon State University and Arizona State University held a day long workshop for maintenance professionals who work in multi-family housing. The goal was to highlight effective ways of protecting against infestations in apartment buildings, in turn reducing the inclination for people to use pesticides.
Discussions centered primarily around how to prevent roach, bed bug and rodent infestations through various IPM protocols. These were then augmented by an actual walkthrough and inspection of several apartment units that had recently been renovated for new tenants. Participants helped check baseboards, cabinets, and wall sockets for any signs of trouble.
In true form, we also pushed alternatives to conventional pesticides as tools for managing existing problems, like using steam or CO2 to battle bed bugs. We'll be working with housing staff again this fall to conduct similar workshops in Lane County, OR reducing residents' exposure to both pests and pesticides
Visit the Sustainable Places Information Network (SPIN) to see video from the workshop.
If you work in a park, school, housing complex, or any urban area where pesticides may be used, please visit SPIN to connect with others from your field and share strategies for reducing pesticide use.
Sign up for SPIN
Biodiversity Farm Tour
Fred Brossy (L) speaks to visiting farmers at a 2008 NCAP field day
Thursday, June 23
Twin Falls, Idaho
9 am – 6 pm
NCAP is pleased to help bring the 3rd annual tour and short course on agricultural biodiversity to south central Idaho.
Fred and Judy Brossy of Ernie’s Organics in Shoshone and Stevenson Ranch in Bellevue will share their conservation practices to enhance biodiversity. Additional presentations will focus on pollination and biological pest suppression by predators, parasites and pathogens.
This tour is organized by the Western Region Functional Agro-Biodiversity Work Group. University scientists, industry representatives, non-profit personnel, and farmers meet regularly to develop ecological practices for agriculture in the western US.
Register by email with firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone with Gwendolyn Ellen at 541-737-6272. Registration is free.
The bus will depart from Twin Falls.
Growing a Garden City
Join us for a talk and Q&A with Jeremy Smith, author of Growing a Garden City!
Jeremy Smith, author of Growing a Garden City
Friday, May 27, 6 p.m.
Amazon Community Center
2700 Hilyard Street
Eugene, OR 97405
Featuring 15 "new faces of local food"--a troubled teen, a grandmother of 20, a homeless shelter chef, a single mother, a food bank officer, an entire first grade class, and more--Growing a Garden City tells the surprising, inspiring true story of some of the country's most far-reaching experiments in urban transformation through community food, farms, and gardens.
Jane Goodall says: "I love this book. It proves that every one of us, and every patch of soil, can make a difference. The way we connect with nature, with our food, and with each other can change the world." Bill McKibben says: "Hooray for the good green thumbs of the Garden City. May their example continue to spread far and wide. We’ve never needed it more badly, or wanted it as much!"
Come see how to grow a garden city and learn about great work on the ground in Eugene!
Go to: www.growingagardencity.com for more information about the author and the book. You can also listen to a radio interview with Jeremy on KLCC's Food for Thought.
Protecting Our Right to Know
Our rights to clean air and clean water are fundamental. When those rights are violated, it is also our right to know to what we are being exposed.
The public interest group OMB Watch has released a new report containing recommendations for improving national public right to know (RTK) standards. Entitled, An Agenda to Strengthen Our Right to Know: Empowering Citizens with Environmental, Health, and Safety Information, the report weighs in at 102 pages and has been endorsed across the country by a broad coalition of 112 environmental and public health organizations. NCAP staff was interviewed for the report because of our extensive work to ensure the public has access to information about hazardous ingredients in pesticide products.
Copies were sent to officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House. You can view the report online here.
Earlier this month, NCAP's colleagues at Pesticide Watch Education Fund, Center for Environmental Health, and Californians for Pesticide Reform released the report Green Schools Within Reach: Moving beyond the Healthy Schools Act of 2000. The report provides an overview of current pest management practices in California schools and documents the significant steps many schools have taken to become healthier learning environments since 2000.
"We see stories of successful green schools across the state," said Paul Towers of Pesticide Watch Education Fund. "From the second largest school district in the nation, to the tiniest of districts, California schools have proven that using green pest management is feasible, more effective, and financially sound."
The report comes at a crucial time as the California state legislature is considering the Healthy Schools Act of 2011.
Download the Report
Clean Water for Salmon
Following the first comment period that ended in April, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has published a revised draft of their fourth Biological Opinion. The document addresses the potential effects of captan, chlorothalonil, 2, 4-D, diuron, linuron and triclopyr BEE on Pacific salmon and other fish species that are endangered or threatened.
EPA is accepting comments on the revised draft from now until June 3, 2011.
The BiOp is available in PDF form here.
Business League Spotlight: Frey Vineyards
Frey Vineyards is located in the Redwood Valley American Viticultural Area in Mendicino County, CA and is America's largest and oldest organic winery and the first maker of certified biodynamic wines in the U.S. The vineyard is family-owned and operated and today a third generation helps to produce fabulous organic wines with the same sustainable practices used for the last 30 years. The eldest brother Jonathan and his wife Katrina studied organic agriculture under the tutorship of Alan Chadwick, a green-thumb guru from California.
At the winery's inception, Jonathan introduced high integrity organic practices that are still in place today. His brother Matthew learned the mechanical and technical skills of the wine business when working at nearby wineries. A final touch to the new winery's credo was that the wine would be made not only from organically grown grapes, but without any added sulfites. In the late 1980's, Paul Frey Jr. returned from the University of California at Santa Cruz to help perfect the techniques for making wine without the synthetic sulfite preservative, and is today Frey's main winemaker. In 1996, Luke Frey spearheaded the conversion of the estate vineyards to biodynamic cultivation, making Frey Vineyards the first producer of certified Demeter Biodynamic wines in North America.
To find Frey Wine near you, visit www.freywines.com.
Do you have a business?
Join the growing list of businesses that are standing up for a healthy environment! Visit the Business League webpage to learn more about becoming an NCAP Business League member.
Is Your Lawn or Garden Pesticide-free? Show It Off!
Supporters who donate through NCAP's Ladybug Lovely monthly giving program receive a new Pesticide-free Area sign from NCAP and Mountain Rose Herbs. The sign is not only a wonderful way to state your values, it's also made of durable recycled aluminum, so it makes a lasting addition to your pesticide-free yard or garden.
Call 541-344-5044 ext.17 to learn more about joining the Ladybug Lovely and getting your sign.
May 2011 Issue
Letter from the Director
Farmers to the Rescue
Urban IPM Workshops
Biodiversity Farm Tour
Growing a Garden City
Protecting Right to Know
Pesticide-free Area Signs
Last month, we mentioned S. 718, the Senate cousin of HR 872 that passed the House in March. This bill is currently in committee, so you have time to contact your senators and tell them to oppose this destructive legislation.
S. 718 would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to eliminate certain pollution controls.
Contact Your Senator
Vote in the S. 718 Poll
Follow the Bill
While they may sound fragile, lacewings are some of the toughest garden guardians around.
Even as larvae, lacewings prey on many unwanted common yard and garden insects, making them a dependable and natural way to protect your plants. See our factsheet for more information on how to use lacewings in your garden.
Get Your Ticket for the Idaho Wind and Wine Tour!
Wind & Wine Tour
Space is limited, so get your ticket today.
Sunday, July 24
8:15 am – 5:00 pm
$40 per person
In celebration of the Year of Idaho Food, take a chartered bus from Boise to Hagerman and Buhl to visit a wind farm and Holesinsky Certified Organic Vineyard and Winery.
Former NCAP board member John O’Connor will share the history of his family’s farm along the Snake River and the transition to farming the wind. The second stop will feature organic wine production, wine tasting and local foods.
Become a Member!
Join NCAP today and add your voice to the pesticide reform movement. Your tax-deductible donation will help protect the health of people and the environment!