The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Take Action!

Want to contact your state or federal legislators? Click here to find out who they are and how you can get in touch 

For more info on any of our action campaigns, please contact our Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto, marty@nofamass.org

CURRENT ACTION ALERTS

Active Action Alerts (as of 8/6/20)

(click to go to relevent section)

 

 

1. Opt out of broadcast mosquito spraying

 

2. Join the CPR local pesticide and pollinator organizing network

 

3. Check out our new (and growing) Pollinator Protection Action Guide

 

 

 

 

Mosquito season is here, and even though spraying of pesticides to control adult mosquitoes is the least effective and most environmentally damaging method to control mosquito diseases, we’re about to be blanketed with toxic pesticides… If you want to reduce your families and your local ecosystem’s exposure to these toxins, there is an option to “opt-out” from spraying carried out by the Commonwealth. However, there are also some important caveats…

 

Anyone in Massachusetts can request to be excluded from wide area applications of pesticides through the Dept. of Agriculture (renters must have the permission of their landlord). When someone fills out the form found on the below page, it goes directly to the mosquito control project that services that town and that property will be excluded.

*How to request exclusion from wide area pesticide applications: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/how-to-request-exclusion-from-wide-area-pesticide-applications

IMPORTANT NOTE: Exclusion requests must be filed EACH CALENDAR YEAR.

Note also that excluded properties should be marked with signage saying “No Spray” as outlined on the above-linked page.

HOWEVER (BIG ONE)… when a public health hazard is declared by the Department of Public Health (which is very likely to happen) and emergency spraying needs to take place,  those exclusions are not honored during the time that is set forth in the DPH declaration, unless the property is a certified organic farm. 

If someone has filled out this form, they should be notified if/when spraying occurs (so at least people can take some precautions)...    

About organic farms:

The Department reaches out to the certified organic farms at the beginning of the season to gather information relative to their location so that if an emergency application does take place they have their information to include in their mapping. *If someone is in the process of being certified organic with Bay State Organic or another certifier, they are also eligible to be excluded from wide area pesticide applications, even under emergency declaration.* Those who are in the process of becoming certified or were recently certified should fill out the exclusion form and contact MDAR directly to confirm that they will be excluded as an organic operation.  

*How to request exclusion from wide area pesticide applications: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/how-to-request-exclusion-from-wide-area-pest...

Please see the state’s “FAQ” on Exclusions from Wide Area Pesticide Applications, here:

https://www.mass.gov/doc/exclusions-from-pesticide-applications-faq/download

 

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The blanket spraying of synthetic pesticides is a threat to the integrity of insect biodiversity and ecosystem health that our farms and gardens rely upon. It also raises serious health concerns, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These chemicals are known to elevate risk factors to our immune and respiratory systems. Not only that, but even even according to the national Centers for Disease Control and US Environmental Protection Agency, spraying of pesticides to control adult mosquitoes is the least effective, and most environmentally damaging method to control mosquito diseases. 

 

Did you know? 

 

*Products containing synthetic pyrethroids are not natural, they are synthetic chemical formulations that also contain other or “inert” ingredients. Neither Massachusetts agencies nor the Environmental Protection Agency test the health or environmental impacts of mixtures of active and inert chemical ingredients.  

 

*Sumithrin, a pesticide often used to control mosquitoes, can result in lung irritation, and has been documented to cause asthmatic responses in those exposed.

 

*Piperonyl-butoxide, a synergist intended to magnify the toxicity of synthetic pyrethroids, has not been tested in combination with these active ingredients, and is considered a possible human carcinogen by the EPA.

 

(references for the above three points, respectively):

 

Donley, Nathan. 2016. Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails. Center for Biological Diversity. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/pesticides_reduction/pdfs/...

 

National Pesticide Information Center. 2020. Sumithrin. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/archive/dphentech.html#references

 

EPA. 2018. Chemicals Evaluated for Carcinogenic Potential. http://npic.orst.edu/chemicals_evaluated.pdf

 

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 “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of toxins!”

 

Mosquito Prevention Tip #1: Seek out and drain all standing water on your property at least once a week to interrupt breeding cycles. 

 

For more ways to control mosquitoes in a proactive and ecological way, please see this blog post from the Xerces Society: https://www.xerces.org/blog/managing-mosquitos-common-sense-solutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Join the Community Pesticides Reduction (CPR) local pesticide and pollinator organizing network!

 

NOFA/Mass envisions a commonwealth of people working together to create healthy landscapes that feed our communities and restore our environment. The use of toxic and persistent chemicals on landscapes, be they schools, playgrounds, municipal properties, community gardens or farms, is not compatible with that vision.

We are excited to now be joining forces with other organizations across the commonwealth at this critical moment of heightened awareness of the dangers presented by our society’s over-reliance and abuse of synthetic biocides like glyphosate and neonicotinoids (biocide is the most general term for a poisonous substance, and also means “the destruction of life” - appropriate!).

Communities across the country are deciding to take action against biocides and the dangers they pose to humans and wildlife. By using tools like local municipal ordinances and resolutions, cities and towns can create policies to promote organic landcare practices, limit pesticide use, and protect pollinators.

The process of enacting city or town policies usually starts with a handful of passionate citizen activists who want to create a safer, healthier community. Some are motivated to protect pollinators from systemic pesticides, others become active when they learn that their children are exposed to pesticides on school and town property.

Want to activate your community? We want to help. NOFA/Mass and Toxics Action Center are hosting ongoing monthly “local leaders teleconferences,” to help connect and activate local residents on “All ‘Cides.” (All biocides, get it?...)

This initiative is all about equipping local activists with the tools they need to pass town resolutions to reduce pesticides and protect pollinators in their communities. Our monthly calls will help you connect with experts, share resources, successes and ideas, and pair up mentor/mentee relationships with groups across the state. As a network, we can leverage our collective genius and coordinate our efforts.

We are continuing to build a clearinghouse of organizing and educational resources, including these constantly-updated “news streams” that you can pull from in order to educate your networks on the importance of promoting organic landcare and reducing synthetic pesticide use:

Finally, check out this interactive map of previous victories won across the state and the country (achieved in several cases with the help of NOFA members like you). We have so much good work to build upon with a new sense of momentum.

Ready to get plugged in? Add your town to the map of more than two dozen communities across the commonwealth where local residents are taking action on all biocides and sign up for our next monthly call. Please sign up to get involved, today!

 

 

Protecting Mass. Pollinators Action Resource Guide, curated by NOFA/Mass. The good folks at Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee asked us “What are some different ways that people in Massachusetts can help the pollinators?” That set us off on a journey to inventory and curate resources and connections for all types of pollinator protection opportunities! We are attempting to highlight the good work of in-state partners and provide  resources from national pollinator advocacy groups. This is very much a work in progress and will continue to evolve, so if you see something missing from this document or have suggested changes, please or comment directly on the Google doc!

 

 

 

Tell Us Your Policy Priorities

Our Policy team is here to represent you, the farmers, gardeners, and organic advocates of Massachusetts. If there is an issue that you want our policy team to investigate or advocate for, please contact our Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto, marty@nofamass.org

 

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