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

Policy Work

***UPCOMING PUBLIC HEARING - Click to read about upcoming opportunities to testify and witness the democratic process!***

NOFA/Mass advocates for sustainable agricultural policies that strengthen the resilience of our local communities. Our policy team works on issues as diverse as organic standards, food system transparency, and regulations that support sustainable farms. 

Learn more about what we’re doing and how you can get involved:

UPCOMING PUBLIC HEARING - Read about upcoming opportunities to testify and witness the democratic process

Take Action!- Learn what food and farming issues you can directly impact right now

Our Legislative Priorities- NOFA/Mass works hard to ensure that organic and sustainable farmers are represented in town, country, state, and federal politics. Learn more about our priorities here.

Organic Standards-Find useful resources and educational materials about what organic really means and why it matters.

Want to get involved in policy work? Have a tip or suggestion? Marty Dagoberto, our Policy Director, can be reached at marty@nofamass.org

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Upcoming Public Hearing on multiple pesticide bills

November 12th, 2019 at 1:00 PM ~ 4:00 PM*

Massachusetts State House, Room B-1 (note the venue change!)

24 Beacon St., Boston, Mass.

 

Calling all proponents of a more organic Massachusetts! At a time of insect population collapse, declining bird populations and rising rates of pesticide-related chronic illness, we know that we must address the pervasive use of systemic and toxic pesticides in our school yards, our farm fields and our communities. November 12th 2019 could be a big day for the movement to reduce pesticide use in Massachusetts. Will you help make it so? 

 

Several pieces of pesticide-related legislation on NOFA/Mass’s priorities list will receive a public hearing on the same day at the Mass. State House (Boston). This hearing provides a rare opportunity to educate lawmakers and to demonstrate the depth of statewide support for action on pesticides. Creating a high volume of activity - testimony, hearing attendance and general buzz -  increases the perceived importance of a given bill/issue, and thus its likelihood of passing!

 

*If you plan to attend, plan on arriving to the State House by 12:30pm at the latest to provide for time to get through security and to find the hearing room. Ending time of the hearing is up to the committee chairs. They may decide to hear every public comment of everyone waiting, or decide to cut it off if there are too many and if testimonies are too repetitive.

Here are the bills we have learned are being "heard" on November 12th by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture:

Note: The full docket of bills was released on 10/31/19 and can be viewed here.

(click the bill numbers to see more details on any of these)

 

H.763 - "An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinators" (Rep. Dykema)

This bill restricts the use of neonicotinoids to licensed applicators, removing them from the hands of consumers. It incorporates neonic limits into the existing pesticide penalty framework and promotes native forage on MassDOT property.

S.447/H.776 - “An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides” (Sen. Cyr, Rep. Fernandes)

This bill restores the power of municipal governments to restrict the use, application or disposal of pesticides within that town or city.

H.791 - “An Act relative to improving pesticide protections for Massachusetts schoolchildren” (Rep. Gentile)

This bill 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. The proposed update would allow only pesticides considered minimum risk by EPA, or certified organic, which would prohibit the use of toxic pesticides like glyphosate and 2,4-D.

H.792 - "An Act relative to the prohibition of the transfer or use of glyphosate in the Commonwealth" (Rep. Gentile)

This bill prohibits the distribution, sale or use of glyphosate or any products containing glyphosate within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

S.499, “An Act relative to the use of glyphosate on public lands.” (Sen. Lewis)

This bill would end the application of glyphosate 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.”
 

 

 

 

ATTEND

Will you attend the hearing to help fill the room and send a strong message as a group?  (No need to speak, being there is important!)

“Register” here to receive more details (“maybe’s” are OK!), connect with carpools, etc: http://bit.ly/Nov12register

What to expect? How to prepare? Please review this resource document that explains how hearings work. 

Parking

Parking in the Boston Common Garage is easy, but expensive ($28 after 3 hours). You might not want to risk getting a ticket with metered parking downtown, but there are spots all around the Common and Public Gardens

The nearest T station is Park Street (Red and Green Line). People coming in from out of town may want to park at Alewife Station (end of the Red line), but the garage often fills up by 10 am on weekdays. In that event, people often park in the nearby neighborhood in East Arlington, a 10 minute walk from the Alewife T station (note any "no parking" signs!). The train ride from Alewife to Park Street is usually about 25 minutes. 

Getting inside the State House

Click here for detailed directions on how to get inside the State House and into the hearing room (changed to room B-1). Entering through the East Entrance from Bowdoin St (not the "Hooker Entrance") will be the most convenient. Again, plan on getting there by 12:30 to get through security. 

If you want to be there for the beginning of the hearing (recommended), plan on arriving to the State House by 12:30pm at the latest in order to provide for time to get through security and to find the hearing room.

A note on going through security: they will not allow any signs to be brought into the building. Knives can be checked and left with security, but it will be faster to leave them in the car. Having your pockets emptied into your bag, jackets watches and belts off, will move the line more quickly (shoes stay on)!

 

 

PROMOTE

Help spread the word using the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/754135575031981/

Share this page with your friends and networks!
 

 

 

 

TAKE ACTION NOW

Whether or not you can attend the Nov. 12th Public Hearing on Pesticides (see above), your legislators need to hear from you! Please take action through the below action page and share it with your networks so that we can increase awareness among legislators of the need to reduce pesticides in the days leading up to the hearing: 

***TAKE ACTION NOW to “Ban Glyphosate (and other toxic pesticides) from Playgrounds and Schools in Massachusetts”***    http://bit.ly/childrencides

Write and then call your legislators!

A phone call will multiply the impact of your email 10 fold. Please pick up the phone and call your state senator and representative. 

You can look up your state senator and representative, here https://openstates.org/

When you call, you'll be talking with a staffer (or be referred to a voicemail) and it will be easy, we promise!

(It's worth then looking at the list of members of the committee hearing these bills. If one of them is yours, lucky you! Your call is has an even greater impact, as your legislator directly help pass the bill. You can tailor your message as below.)

When they pick up the phone, ask to speak with someone in the office of [Representative/Senator Lastname]. You can then say something simple like:

Hi My name is [NAME] and I live in [TOWN]. I’m calling to urge [Representative/Senator Lastname] to
support the pesticide bills being heard by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural
Resources and Agriculture on November 12.

The pesticides addressed, glyphosate and neonics, are very toxic to both people and pollinators
like bees. All of these bills would help us keep people and the environment safe from toxic chemicals.

At the very least, I hope that they will support H.763 to protect pollinators, H.791 to ban toxic pesticides from playgrounds, and S.447/H.776 to restore power to local municipalities to restrict pesticides.  

Please support action on pesticides this session and submit testimony to the ENRA committee in support of these bills. 

[If your legislator is on the committee] Please pass these bills from your committee as soon as possible. 

 

 

 

Represent an organization or business?

Please endorse our "coalition sign-on letter, here"

Thank you to the following organizations for endorsing our coalition effort to reduce pesticides in Massachusetts! 

Regeneration MassachusettsBerkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)Beyond PesticidesCaretaker FarmSeeds of SolidarityGardening the CommunityBoston OrganicsLandscapeInteractions LLC, Toxics Action Center, GreeNA, Ivory Silo Farm, MASSPIRG, Marion Institute, Western Mass Pollinator NetworksRound the Bend Farm, Trillium Asset Management LLC, Adrian's Atrium, Global Environmental Options, POCCA Cape Cod, Meadowscaping for BiodiversityFull Circle EarthThe New Garden SocietyConcerned Citizens of Franklin CountyThe Enviro ShowRESTORE: The North WoodsPumpkin Brook Organic Gardening Inc., Sustainable Shrewsbury Citizens Network, Red Fire Farm, Living Earth,
Berkshire Grown, Inc., Massachusetts Sierra Club, GreenCAPE, Island Grown Initiative, Bionutrient Food Association, Great Barrington Agricultural Commission

(List updated 11/07/19)

 

TESTIFY!

Testify in person, before the committee on November 12th

If you would like to speak in front of the committee we are happy to help you with your testimony and to prepare you for the hearing. We need people of all backgrounds and personal stories are SO important! We are also looking for health experts, academics and advocates with particular messages for legislators. Please get in touch if you are interested in testifying: marty@nofamass.org

 

Submit written testimony to the committee

Written testimony can be submitted directly to David.McNeill@mahouse.gov, Research Analyst for Chairman Smitty Pignatelli, chair of the Joint Committee for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. Testimony should be submitted by November 19th, 2019. Contact marty@nofamass.org for more details and guidance on how to submit written testimony.

 

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