Sonoma SASS * November 2019 Newsletter

Wine & Water Watch is happy to support and help organize for this important work along with:

Preserve Rural Sonoma County, Wine Water Watch, Sonoma County Conservation Action, FACTS (Families Advocating For Chemical and Toxics Safety), North Bay Organizing Project and Daily Acts.

 Megan Kahn is the lead in this important work to get synthetic pesticides out of public spaces. We urge you to contribute to this valuable project. 


Sonoma SASS * November 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the November 2019 Safe Ag Safe Schools Newsletter. As you make Thanksgiving plans and pray for rain, we hope that you take some time to consider the many things we have to be grateful for in Sonoma County. Beautiful and accessible wild lands, delicious and healthy locally produced food, and passionate community members dedicated to making our county a better place are top 3 on our list. 
In this newsletter you’ll learn about two local campaigns in Graton and Petaluma both promoting synthetic pesticide-free, regenerative land management. We’ll also provide some new information on bee-killing neonicotinoids.

We are grateful for your support!

Aromas of Black Plum and Licorice, With Lingering Notes of RoundUP 
Sonoma SASS members featured in recent article on the environmental and health consequences of vineyard paradise.

Join Graton Against Synthetic Pesticides (GASP) for a FREE event on Dec 4th (please RSVP) at the Graton Community Center to educate our community on the risks from synthetic pesticide exposure, symptoms and how to detox safely.  Presenters will include the Children of the Vine director, and local doctors, scientists, and policy experts. This event is for anyone interested in learning more about pesticide exposure in Sonoma County, not just Graton residents.

If you can’t attend, please consider signing the GASP petitionFor more information, visit: 

Graton is located in one of the most highly sprayed regions in Sonoma CountyGASP is a coalition of concerned Graton residents working together to eliminate the threat of pesticide exposure to families, laborers and the children who attend Oak Grove Elementary.

Petaluma is one of the few cities in Sonoma County that still uses synthetic weedkillers for routine, cosmetic landscape maintenance. Pesticide-Free Petaluma is a community group of caring citizens that is working to change this.

You don’t have to live in Petaluma to help out. To learn more or get involved email and join the Pesticide-Free Petaluma Facebook Page:

Also, please fill out this survey before Wednesday November 20th to tell the Petaluma Park’s department that Measure M funds should go toward nontoxic landscaping!

New Information on Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that are not only responsible for what the New York Times called “Insect Apocalypse”, but also for neurological and developmental harm (autism, memory loss, and tremors) in humans and birth defects. The three most commonly used neonicotinoids are banned in the EU, but these chemicals continue to be used in the US.

Initial studies by Bayer showed neonicotinoids to be nontoxic to people which resulted in widespread overuse. In Sonoma County, around 10,000 acres of agricultural land is treated annually with neonicotinoids. They are also used commonly in Sonoma County by residential pest control companies. Neonicotinoids are also found commonly in drugstore insecticides, bedbug treatments, and flea medicine. Nursery plants are also often pre-treated with neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids kill insects but not plants. They are “systemic” which means when a plant is exposed to them they become part of the plant tissue (including future pollen and fruit). It is NOT possible to wash or peel off neonicotinoids. They are commonly sprayed on non-organic grapes, corn, apples, strawberries, etc.

Neonicotinoids don’t break down easily and build up in soil and water. Center for Disease Control data shows that 50% of the US population was recently exposed to neonicotinoids. A Xerces Society study found neonicotinoids commonly in California’s surface water. A 2018 study of the Russian River Watershed found elevated levels of neonicotinoids.

The 97% decline in Western Monarch Butterflies, 29% decline in song birds, and 75% decline in flying insects are all linked to the United States’ widespread neonicotinoid use.

Neonicotinoids are a BIG problem but 3 small things you can do to help:

(1) Never buy garden plants or seeds treated with neonicotinoids, they will kill the insects in your garden for years to come. Emerisa Gardens, Harmony Farms, and Baker Creek are safe places to shop for plants and seeds in Sonoma County.

(2) Buy organic food especially apples, cherries, grapes (wine!), strawberries, and corn.

(3) Don’t use flea medicine, insect sprays, rose plant sprays, or bedbug treatments that contain neonicotinoids (unfortunately, most synthetic versions of these products do.)

Sonoma SASS is working to reduce the use of neonicotinoids and other synthetic pesticides by supporting regenerative agriculture, working toward synthetic pesticide bans in public spaces, and educating people on nontoxic pest control at home. 

Sonoma Safe Ag, Safe Schools is a coalition of community organizations paving the way for safer land management policies especially around our schools and communities. Working to protect public health and the environment, SASS raises public awareness and provides community education to work toward replacing synthetic pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. Consider making a tax-deductible donation today!

Copyright © 2019 Sonoma Safe Ag Safe Schools, All rights reserved.

Sonoma SASS is a project of the Cafe Fund for Education, a 501c3 nonprofit. Tax I.D.# 74-3166298. Donations to Sonoma SASS are tax deductible. Send checks (SASS in memo) to: 
540 Pacific Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

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