Abundant thanks to the Watsonville City Council, especially Mayor Garcia and members Gonzalez and Estrada, for their support of public posting of Notices of Intent (NOIs) to use restricted pesticides. We appreciate County Agricultural Commissioner Juan Hidalgo for his ongoing willingness to communicate, and for providing progressive protective measures such as buffers and school notifications. Kudos to the dozens of people who communicated their support, especially the youth from Digital Nest who offered to help overcome technical barriers to posting NOIs on the Commissioner’s website.
The Pajaro Valley is ahead of California’s upward trend in organic ag, as evidenced by the growth of the Peixoto’s family farm, and many smaller local organic producers. Driscoll’s and Martinelli’s, as well, have expanded their organic line to meet consumer demand.
We all have the right to know what chemicals are used to grow our food. Farmworkers, the most exposed, are often not informed. Ag communities deserve to be able to protect the vulnerable. Consumers want their produce grown safely and sustainably. Air, water and soil quality, as well as plants and animals, are all impacted. Climate is the overarching issue of our time. To reverse accumulation of atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases, we need green growth and healthy soil. Real time information on what hazardous chemicals are in use in our environment is an important step toward advocating for alternatives.
The resolution passed at the Oct. 27 Council meeting may be just “symbolic.” It could take further action at the county and state level to mandate the public’s Right to Know about hazardous pesticides used nearby. Yet symbols can have great power to impact systems, to change the way we live.
Kathleen Kilpatrick, Watsonville
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