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

(click action title to jump to relevant section of page)

1. Call your state legislators to cosponsor the NOFA/Mass bills

2. Support the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)

3. Join the "All 'Cides" local pesticide and pollinator organizing network!

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Call your state legislators to cosponsor the NOFA/Mass bills

Attention all proponents of an organic future in Massachusetts! The 2019-2020 Massachusetts State Legislative Session has just begun, and now is the time to collect as many cosponsors as possible for a slate of priority bills that we are supporting in the State House. While the deadline for cosponsors for House Bills has now passed (and we did quite well on a few of them!), there is no deadline on senate bills (listed below). The number of cosponsors a bill has is often seen as an indicator of how important the bill is, and legislators listedn to their constituents when they are deciding which to cosponsor!

 

Please don't put this off. Pick up the phone to call your state legislators and ask them to cosponsor any or all of the below NOFA/Mass-approved priority bills! (more details below)

No time to make a phone call?... We understand. The below "click and send pages" will enable you to send an email to your legislators within seconds:
 
But remember: phone calls have a WAY bigger impact...

 

Senate Bills (still collecting cosponsors)

SD.1438 - Mass. Healthy Soils Bill

SD.1366 - Ban Neonics Statewide!

SD.2175 - Local Option on Pesticides

SD.755  - Restrict Glyphosate use on Public Lands

SD.2072 - Protect groundwater from pesticides

 

House Bills (cosponsor deadline is passed)

Even though the cosponsor deadline has passed, we can still encourage legislators to support the  legislation and push for passage.


HD.3065 - Mass. Healthy Soils Bill
HD.3339 - Mass. Pollinator Protection Act
HD.291 - Local Option on Pesticides
HD.1500 - Protect Schoolchildren from Pesticides
HD.1271 - Cannabis farming is farming!
HD.2179 - Organic pest control on Cannabis
HD. 2795 - Hemp Cross-Pollination Prevention Research

 

 

 

First time calling? GREAT. You'll see how easy it is to take a direct role in the democratic process. Just call your own legislators' offices, you have 1 Rep. and 1 Senator (ask to speak with an aide), introduce yourself as a constituent, and politely request that they cosponsor any/all of the above/below bills. It doesn't have to take more than 30 seconds (and really does send a message). And, even if they are already a cosponsor of a particular bill, it's important for them to know you support them.

 

 

  • Basic format of a quick call: "My name is ______ and as your constituent, I hope that you will cosponsor __________ (official bill name and docket number). This is important to me because _________. Thank you!"

[Note: each section below lists our reference name for each bill, the official name of the bill, the "docket numbers," the name of the lead sponsor(s) and a brief description.]



Mass. Healthy Soils Bill (PRIORITY #1)
("An Act to promote healthy soils and agricultural innovation within the Commonwealth")

SD.1438/HD.3065 - Sen. Jo Comerford and Rep. Paul Schmid III

 
Given the dire urgency of the climate crisis, the Healthy Soils Bill (SD.1438/HD.3065) needs to take the spotlight. Agriculture is the only sector of the economy which has the potential of transitioning from a net emitter of greenhouse gases to a net reducer. That is, if we scale out Healthy Soils Practices, which pull carbon out of the atmosphere while increasing soil fertility.

 

  • What to say: "Please cosponsor Sen. Jo Comerford's Healthy Soils Bill (SD.1438)" [and whatever you want to say about why this is important to you!]

 

This bill creates a Healthy Soils Program within the Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water and Related Resources, which will provide incentives, training and assistance for Massachusetts farmers employing Healthy Soils Practices. The bill also adds an expert in Healthy Soils Practices to the Mass. Food Policy Council.

More details on the bill, here.


Neonic Ban Bill! ("An Act protecting pollinators by eliminating harmful products.")
SD.1366 - Senator Jamie Eldridge

 

We applaud Senator Eldridge's bold introduction of an outright ban on the sale, distribution or use this class of pollinator-killing pesticides across the Commonwealth! We encourage our supporters to call for cosponsors of this bill, as well as Rep. Dykema's neonic restrictions bill (HD.3339). We need to phase out use of these compounds, and a major demonstration of support for this move will really advance the conversation.

 

  • Please ask your legislators to "Please co-sponsor Sen. Eldridge's Neonic Ban (SD.1366) and support Rep. Dykema's pollinator protection bill (HD.3339). We must end the use of neonic pesticides, but at the very least, take them out of the hands of untrained consumers."

    More details on the bill, here.


Local Option on Pesticides  ("An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides")
SD.2175 - Sen. Julian Cyr
HD.291- Rep. Dylan Fernandes (cosponsor window for the house version is closed as of Feb. 1, 2019)

 

Under the 1978 Mass. Pesticide Control Act, local town/city governments don't have the right to ban harmful pesticides. This bill would return  Power to The People to protect their families, food and water from pesticide exposure. With the approval of municipality's Board of Health, a city or town government would be able to "restrict or prohibit the use and application or disposal of pesticides within the city or town that are more stringent than the standards and restrictions [adopted by the state]."

 

More details on the bill, here.

 

 

Restrict Glyphosate use on Public Lands ("An Act relative to the use of glyphosate on public lands.")
SD.755  - Sen. Jason Lewis

 

Another bold move which will surely attract the ire of the powerful chemical lobby, Sen. Lewis has introduced a bill which would end the application of any glyphosate-based herbicide on any on any public lands owned or maintained by the Commonwealth without a special permit. It would also outlaw the use of "any pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its label." 

More details on the bill, here.

 

 

Protecting Groundwater from Pesticides ("An Act relative to the pesticide board.")

SD.2072 - Sen. Julian Cyr   

This bill directs the pesticide control board to consult with the commissioner of food and agriculture, the commissioner of environmental protection and the commissioner of public health when making decisions relative to the protection of groundwater sources of drinking water from pesticide contamination.

 

 

House Bills (cosponsor deadline has passed)

Even though the cosponsor deadline has passed, we can still encourage legislators to support the  legislation and push for passage. For details on the suport for each bill, please visit our legislative priorities page.

 

Mass. Pollinator Protection Act (PRIORITY #2)
("An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinators") 
HD.3339 -Rep. Carolyn Dykema and Attorney General Maura Healey (!) 

 

Last session, this commonsense set of restrictions on the pollinator-killing pesticides known as neonicotinoids ("neonics") had 67% of the legislature signed on as cosponsors, and many offices reported it was an issue they heard the most about. Unfortunately we were not loud and numerous enough for some legislators to hear us over the powerful objections of the chemical industry...  Please help us swarm the phone lines and kick this session off with a deafening call to action to protect our pollinators.

 

  • What to say: "Please support Rep. Dykema's pollinator bill, HD.3339, which places commonsense restrictions on neonicotinoids" [and why pollinators are important to you!]

 

This bill limits the sale and use of neonics to licensed (and trained) pesticide applicators, which would take these pesticides out of the hands of consumers.

You can read more about the details of what this bill would and why this action is so important, here.

No time to make a phone call? We understand. You can send a quick email through this "click and send" page within seconds. Note: Phone calls have a WAY bigger impact...

 

Don't think this bill goes far enough?... You can also support an outright ban, introduced by Sen. Jamie Eldridge (more details below).

 

 

Protect Schoolchildren from Pesticides- ("An Act Relative to Improving Pesticide Protections for Massachusetts School Children")

HD1500 - Rep. Carmine Gentile

HD 1500 updates the outdated list of pesticide products eligible for use on the outdoor grounds of schools, child care centers and school age child care programs within the state of Massachusetts (See Chapter 132B, Section 6G of General Laws). This list of eligible products, created in 2001, no longer reflects of the current state of science around the harm pesticides pose to children. The proposed update would allow only pesticides considered minimum risk by EPA, or certified organic. HD1500 will stop the outdoor use of toxic pesticides like glyphosate and 2,4-D, currently permitted in IPM programs “to maintain quality appearance” or under the guise of student “safety,” and provide uniform understanding for parents and school employees that toxic pesticides will not be used where children are learning.

More details on this bill, here.

 

 

Cannabis farming is farming! ("An Act clarifying the definition of agriculture")
HD.1271 - Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier

 

While the 2017 law to legalize adult-use of cannabis includes a provision "to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by farmers," there has been an unfortunate trend of local zoning boards excluding farmers from this opportunity under the false assumption that cannabis cultivation is not considered agriculture. A simple legislative fix would clarify the definition of agriculture to include "hemp and marihuana."

More details on the bill, here.

 

Allow organic pest control on Cannabis ("An Act Relative to Organic Farming Tools")
HD.2179 - Rep. Paul Mark

 

This organic pest control provision is written to bring Massachusetts regulators into line with practices in earlier legalization states that have allowed a short list of biological and botanical control strategies to be used on cannabis (hemp and marijuana). Colorado, California and Oregon allow application of organic pest control products when they have broad EPA label instructions, are permissible on food and tobacco, and have no federal (food) tolerance level requirements.

More details on the bill, here.

 

Hemp Cross-Pollination Prevention Research ("An Act Establishment of a Cannabis and Hemp Cultivation Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst")
HD.2795 - Rep. Susannah M. Whipps

 

If mixed gender industrial hemp proliferates in the state, it could radically limit where marijuana crops can be grown outdoors. Most immediately, it could become a problem facing home growers of marijuana, whose plants will be seeded and essentially spoiled by nearby industrial hemp operations. This bill would establish at UMass Amherst a research center to address the cross-pollination issue and other technical issues facing farmers.

More details on the bill, here.

 

 

"That's it!" (for now...)

 

We trust that our supporters will call their legislators about as many of these bills as are important to them. Thank you for making your voice heard!  
 
Please tell us how your call(s) went
We'd love hear your report... Did they say they would cosponsor? Are they already a cosponsor? Did you have a nice chat? Send your reports and any questions to our Policy Director at marty@nofamass.org

 

If your Senator or Representative is one of those named above (lucky you!), please join us in expressing our gratitude to them for their bold leadership (and tell your local friends and neighbors). Several of these bills were filed at the request of NOFA/Mass. We are fortunate to have these allies in the legislature.

 

Thank you again for taking action, and for passing this message along to your networks. Stay tuned for updates!
 

 

 

Support the Healthy Incentives Program

Healthy Incentives Program - Save HIP

The Healthy Incentives Program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for SNAP money spent on fruits and vegetables purchased at participating farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs statewide. To date, the program has provided more than $4.2 million in fresh, healthy, local foods for low-income families, with that money going to support local farms. This means better health outcomes for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable communities, and greater sustainability for local farms, allowing them to contribute to the local economy, steward farmland and protect our natural resources. For more information about HIP, see this fact sheet.

Action is needed to urge the legislature and the administration to allocate funds to keep the program operating.

Current action alert: Please see the website of the Mass. Food System Collaborative for the latest action alert on saving HIP.


 




 

Join the "All 'Cides" local pesticide and pollinator organizing network!


More than 50 local leaders from communities across the state joined us on our two launch calls on December 13th to talk about how we can work together to support local organizing to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides (more generally termed “biocides” - “destructive of life”) and to promote pollinator habitats. NOFA/Mass is excited to partner with the Toxics Action Center, Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth, Regeneration Massachusetts and the Western Mass. Pollinator Habitats Network on this collaborative organizing campaign.

 

This partnership is all about equipping local activists with the tools they need to pass town resolutions to reduce or ban pesticides and protect pollinators in their communities. Our monthly calls will help us share resources 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.

 

When one of us wins, we all win. We’d like to celebrate the most recent victory: Congratulations to local leader Laura Kelly of POCCA (Protecting our Cape Cod Aquifer) and the town of Chatham, for it’s recent move to eliminate the use of glyphosate on municipal properties!  Check out this interactive map of earlier 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.

 

If you’d like to get in on the action and join or start organizing efforts in your community, contact NOFA/Mass Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto at marty@nofamass.org

 

 


 

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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