Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Public Policy Teach-ins

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Pesticides: In the News and All Around Us

Who decides which pesticides can be approved for use – are these “forever” decisions?

Saturday, September 21, 2019

This teach-in focused on how pesticides are evaluated by state and federal authorities. Pesticides are available for sale in hardware, grocery and farm stores as well as greenhouses. All are toxic to varying degrees. Homeowners can buy many pesticides, but some are available only to licensed professionals. Many farmers count on pesticides to meet their bottom line and would be challenged to farm without them. By law, organic farmers cannot use most synthetic pesticides, so they continuously adjust farming practices to manage rising disease and insect problems. Meanwhile, homeowners are at the short end of the process – not knowing how to determine what is least toxic, what alternative controls might be used, why a pesticide is on the market and what they can do to be involved.

The teach-in brought together panelists who have been directly involved in the pesticide journey. They provided an overview of the regulatory process, explained the role of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC), our legislature, our communities and you.

Our outstanding panel included Sharon Tisher, J.D, who teaches environmental law and policy at the University of Maine, is a past president of MOFGA, reported on the Maine BPC for The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener for many years and is the author of the Pesticides Quiz; Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides and a frequent Common Ground Country Fair speaker; Carol L. Hubbard, M.D., who works in developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Maine Medical Partners; and Nancy Ross, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of political science at the Southern Maine Community College, retired professor of environmental policy at Unity College, former deputy commissioner at the Maine Department of Conservation and former executive director of MOFGA. We will learn about the work of federal and state staff who are expected to serve the public and respond to diverse constituents.

View the 2019 Public Policy Teach-in on YouTube