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Policy

Butterflies enjoying native flowers Photo credit: Caro Roszell

Communities across Massachusetts are standing up and taking action against toxic biocides and the dangers they pose to all living things-- from the smallest insect to those of us at the top of the food chain. Local leaders and concerned citizens are mounting a defense of the vulnerable members of our ecosystems, from the Statehouse to the schoolyard. 

With a raft of bills on pesticide reduction and pollinator protection before the state legislature (Pollinator Protection Act (Neonic Restrictions), Neonic Ban, Local Option on Pesticides, Protect Schoolchildren from Pesticides, Restrict Glyphosate use on Public Lands, Glyphosate Ban, Protect Groundwater from Pesticides) and with 29 Massachusetts communities that have already established some level of municipal action on pesticide reduction/pollinator protection, there is no better time to join the movement to protect our ecosystems and our health!

Have you talked to your state legislators about glyphosate?

2020 will be the year that Massachusetts legislators take action to reduce glyphosate use. Will you help us realize that vision? 

The state legislature is considering several proposed laws related to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup). However, the deadline for these bills to be “reported out of committee” is February 5th, 2020 (otherwise they die). If you haven’t recently called your State Senator and Representative to let them know your thoughts and concerns about glyphosate and to ask them to take action to reduce its use (ok, even if you have), this month would be the month to do it!

Below are the glyphosate-related bills currently being considered.

If you are a farmer, you have probably looked down an endless row of weeding to be done and sighed. Never-ending and daunting tasks pop up all over the farm and garden. As a matter of fact, they pop up in everyone’s life, no matter if you have an apartment in the city or 30 acres in the country. Washing dishes, folding laundry, putting up cans of tomatoes- heck, even long drives can leave us feeling lonely. Now think of the times that you have set out to finish a chore or a drive and had a few good friends along. When you are talking and laughing, sharing stories and knowledge, it can make the time you are elbow deep in the dishwater or at the beginning of a long row of weedy onions fly by. Well, guess what? If you subscribe to the NOFA/Mass Podcast you will have fabulous farmy friends in your headphones whenever you want!

Listening to a podcast is a great way to pass the time when you are working solo, and if you choose to listen to the NOFA/Mass podcast you will get to hang out with some of our favorite people as they chat about all sorts of farmy topics. 

Healthy Soils and Pollinator bills move after packed public hearing, farmer input needed!

We have a lot to be thankful for this month. In this month’s Policy Update:

1. The Healthy Soils Bill and the Pollinator Protection Act have been passed by the Agriculture committee!

2. Advocates filled the hearing room on Nov. 12th to “Stop Pesticides!”

3. Are you a farmer? We need to hear from you on climate action and land access.

 

Join NOFA/Mass, Toxics Action Center, Regeneration Massachusetts and Carey Gillam on Friday, January 10, 2020 for a Full-Day Activist Training on Glyphosate Reduction at Worcester State University. 

Have you heard the success stories of entire communities banning the use Glyphosate on their public lands? The list is surprisingly long: Seattle, WA, Miami, FL, Austin, TX, and towns across California are just the beginning of a powerful trend of public empowerment. Closer to home, Warwick, MA has a ban in effect and other Massachusetts towns such as Falmouth, Chatham, Wellesley, and Eastham have strong restrictions in place. 

 

 

Show your support for a more organic Massachusetts

Upcoming Public Hearing on multiple pesticide bills

November 12th, 2019 at 1PM ~ 4PM

Massachusetts State House, Room A-2

24 Beacon St., Boston, Mass.

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

In this issue:

Hearing scheduled for multiple pesticide bills - November 12th

Concerned about the aerial spraying for mosquitoes? Let’s organize for solutions.

Seeking input on farmer access to HIP program

Hemp flower ban got you down? Seeking comments from farmers and advocates

To all those participating in the ongoing #ClimateStrike, we thank you!

NOFA/Mass advocates for policies that bring us closer to our vision of healthy landscapes that feed our communities and restore our environment. Working with our statewide network of ecological farmers and gardeners, we organize for progress at the local, state and federal level. Our policy committee is working on a variety of issues, yet we need more active participation from our organic movement (that’s you)! To get involved, please contact marty@nofamass.org 

As the state legislature comes back from summer and the harvest season begins, our advocacy work to promote organic landscapes and healthy communities really picks up. We are grateful to have people across the state educating and organizing their communities to reduce pesticides and we have several state policy efforts that need your help.

 

Learn About & Give Input to Statewide Climate Resilience

This year, NOFA Summer Conference attendees and any interested members of the public will have an opportunity to give input during the Fair to a Massachusetts statewide plan for enhancing soil health, soil carbon, and soil resilience across multiple land uses. We will be gathering from 4:30-5:30pm on the lawn near the conference registration tent to share information and ideas about planning for soil health across the state.

ABOUT THE HEALTHY SOILS ACTION PLAN

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) and the Massachusetts Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water, & Related Resources have embarked on a broad public planning process to research and write a plan for how Massachusetts can best support land uses including farming, forestry and urban development for climate change resilience and mitigation. 

Senator Jo Comerford

Farms and farmers are at the heart of what makes Massachusetts vibrant and utterly unique in the Commonwealth. They’re the bedrock of healthy, environmentally conscience communities. A backbone of our regional economy. And much more.

That’s why, when I was sworn into the legislature on January 2 and had only 16 days to file legislation, I quickly prioritized the well-being of farms and farmers in our region.

Throughout my campaign to represent the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district, I met with many farmers about the lack of land for farming and their razor thin profit margins. One of the things I heard about consistently was the high property taxes that farmers in my district were paying on sections of farmland that are fewer than five acres. That’s what I filed S.1613: An Act supporting farming on non-contiguous land.

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