Just and Sustainable Agriculture
Over 75%, or 877 million pounds, of the pesticides used in the United States are used in agricultural production each year. This overuse of toxic chemicals places human and environmental health at risk through the food we eat and the air we breathe. The majority of the people that work in agricultural production are also low-income, people of color who cannot afford, or do not have access to, healthcare to treat the ailments that are associated with pesticides exposure.
The goal of our Just and Sustainable Agriculture program is to protect human and environmental health from toxic substances and practices utilized in “conventional” agriculture. Our objective, through increased awareness, education, and promotion of non-toxic agricultural practices is to create systemic change in the food production system that will reduce chemical-dependent agriculture in our environment and increase access to non-toxic foods.
Growing Our Non-Toxic Farmer Population
We work with farmers across the state to create a network of like-minded producers who want to see agriculture in North Carolina continue to have economic growth in a way that is both equitable and sustainable for all of the people in the state to collectively strategize on achieving that goal.
One in every three bites of food we eat is dependent on pollinators. Without pollinators, both managed and native, we would not be able to enjoy many of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that provide us nutrition every day.
Pollinators have been in decline for almost 30 years now with 2015 being the worst year for pollinators with a 42.5% loss in the United States. One of the main contributing factors of this decline is pesticide exposure. We must eliminate pesticides from pollinator habitat while creating more habitats for them to forage. Click here to see our pollinator facts sheet and read more about the importance of pollinators!
- Keep the Hives Alive! We proudly represent you on statewide, national, and international coalitions. Raising our issues into the broader context, and bringing the best and brightest efforts back to this important place we call home. For 2016, this meant helping organize the national Keep the Hives Alive campaign. This 10 stop tour across the country built awareness about pollinator decline and offered sound policy recommendations. Toxic Free NC was the point organization for taking the issue home to Bayer CropScience, the number one bee-killing pesticide producer, headquartered in Research Triangle Park. Click here to check out a trailer for the documentary!
- Tell Bayer NO to bee-killing pesticides! One of the classes of pesticides that are implicated in pollinator decline is known as neonicotinoids (pronounced neo-nic-o-ti-noids) also known as neonics (pronounced neo-nics). One of the largest producers in the world of neonicotinoids is Bayer CropScience, located right here in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. In September 2015, Toxic Free NC worked with partners from around North America to hold a rally in downtown Raleigh announcing the delivery of 500,000 signatures asking Bayer CropScience to suspend their production, sale, and distribution of neonicotinoids until we can more fully understand the plight of the pollinators. Add your name to the petition now and tell Bayer that you want bee-killing pesticides out of North Carolina!
Worker Protection Standards (WPS)
The Worker Protection Standards (WPS) were developed in 1992 to protect farmworkers and nursery workers from pesticide exposure. Toxic Free NC worked with farmworker advocacy groups from around the nation for over a decade to revise and strengthen the WPS. In September 2015, the new standers were released with increased protection for workers, recordkeeping requirements for farm operators, and for the first time ever, a minimum age of 18 for pesticide handlers and applicators. We must know turn our eye to enforcement, as North Carolina must fully implement the new standards by 2018. Click below to look at a comparison chart that describes the changes in the WPS.