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Policy

On February 12, 2020, 21 farmers from across Massachusetts drove in to the Statehouse to urge legislators to support the creation of a Massachusetts Healthy Soils Program. Gathering in a briefing room, legislators, staffers, press and supporters of the bill heard comments from farmers.

Representative Schmid and Senator Comerford, lead cosponsors of S.2404, the Healthy Soils Bill, started the briefing. “This is amazing to us, that the interest and fascination with healthy soils has grown so quickly here in the State House, and it’s in large part due to your advocacy,” Rep. Schmid remarked to the those in attendance.

“I want to acknowledge your work to grow and expand the possibility of this bill and the impact of healthy soils on our Commonwealth. It’s a food security issue, it’s a farmer justice issue and now we’re rightly seeing it as a climate issue,” said Senator Comerford, adding “And I want to thank NOFA for really spearheading the organizing around this, the outside push. We want to do right by our Commonwealth, and people like you make us do it.”

H.791 eliminates the use of toxic pesticides on playgrounds and anywhere that children learn and play! 
 
H.792 takes all glyphosate-containing herbicides (including Monsanto's Roundup) off hardware store shelves and ends consumer use of this toxic biocide! 
 
To be clear, both of these bills face an uphill battle before passage and aren't even guaranteed to be voted on by the full legislature, but the fact that Agriculture committee has approved these bills is HUGE and is a testament to the enormous grassroots support and emerging science that tells us we must do something to reduce the use of glyphosate and other toxic pesticides

Threat to Children from the Massachusetts Pesticide Law

UPDATE from NOFA/Mass Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto: On January 31st, 2020 the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture passed H.791, mentioned below! Supporters should contact and THANK legislators and ask them to push for the bill to voted on by the full house ASAP. Stay tuned for more updates in next month's newsletter.

Parents who fear that the pesticides applied on school playing fields are a health threat to their children are having those concerns justified by scientific studies.

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!

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