URGENT SIGN ONs (WED, 3/27 DEADLINE) -> 1) Ban Brain-harming Chlorpyrifos & 2) Support Organic Food in CA Schools!
- The first is SB 458 (Durazo) that would ban the use of the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos in California, exposure to which has been shown to lower children’s IQs; increase the likelihood of children being born with autism, ADHD, or other neurobehavioral disorders; decrease children’s lung function; contribute to obesity; and exacerbate asthma and other respiratory-related problems. U.S. EPA scientists and the Department of Pesticide Regulation have found that there is no safe use of chlorpyrifos on food crops as children and mothers of childbearing age are exposed to too much chlorpyrifos whether it be through food residue (which cannot be washed or peeled off), water pollution, or drift from 1/2 mile away. Everyone in California is at risk. The bill is co-sponsored by CPR allies/members: the United Farm Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics-California and Earthjustice.
- The second (AB 958 – Aguiar-Curry) is a bill that would create the first-ever Organic-to-School pilot program to offer schools grant funding to purchase California-produced organic food. The bill gives priority to schools that: serve low-income students, serve agricultural communities, offer universal free school meals, or participate in the USDA’s unprocessed fruit and vegetable pilot program. It also encourages participating schools to source locally, seasonally, and from socially disadvantaged farmers and farms offering educational opportunities. The bill is sponsored by CPR ally and member: Natural Resources Defense Council.
a. Name of the person signing on
Sarah Aird, Esq., Co-Director (pronouns: she/her)
2029 University Ave., Suite 200, Berkeley, CA 94704
State Capitol, Room 5144
Sacramento, CA 95814RE: AB 958 (Aguiar-Curry) California Organic-to-School Pilot Program – SUPPORTDear Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry:
We represent ## public health, education, labor, and environmental organizations who support your bill, AB 958, because it represents a critical step toward a food system that values the health of children and the environment. Healthy, good tasting, and sustainably produced school meals are an investment in the health and well-being of California kids, as well as our climate and environment more broadly.
California is the nation’s leading producer of organic food, yet these foods remain out of reach for many California residents, and too many California organic farmers lack stable markets for the healthy, sustainable food they grow. Organic food is produced without most synthetic pesticides, and organic diets have been shown to decrease pesticide levels in people’s bodies in a short amount of time. More organic food in school meals will mean less pesticide exposure for California’s most vulnerable children. It also means fewer farmworkers exposed to toxic pesticides in their workplaces, more protection for honeybees and other pollinators, more climate-friendly farms to help move California closer to reaching its climate action goals, and more opportunity for California producers.
Public school districts throughout California, large and small, are committed to improving school meal programs, and this often means finding creative ways to source organic produce, grains, proteins, and milk. Yet funding remains a barrier for most, given that on average schools spend about $1.25 on food costs per lunch meal. The funds available through AB 958 will offer schools much needed assistance in making the purchase of organic food a reality.
AB 958 recognizes that school food is an especially important source of nourishment for low-income students. Low-income communities across the state have far less access to safe, healthy, and affordable food, are burdened disproportionately by toxic pesticide use, and often also bear the brunt of climate change-related impacts. We applaud you for ensuring that schools serving a high percentage of low-income children and/or serving universally free school meals will get top priority for AB 958 grant funding.
Healthy, sustainably grown, culturally appropriate food should be available to everyone, especially California’s public school students. AB 958 leads the way toward a better food system for all, from farm to fork. Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.