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Healthy Communities

A bag made by the child of a farmworker. The bag, embroidered with the words "Don't kill my family please," is adorned with skulls. It was presented to Sen. Charles Shumer's office by farmworkers and advocates, who had traveled to Washington, D.C. in July

Farmworkers share stories from the frontlines, in this second installment of a weekly series:

Part 2: When going organic isn’t possible

"I am a farm worker and only use organic methods. It is the only way to protect all.

"When I first heard about the illnesses that our farmworkers were having, I began to only buy organic produce. It was more expensive, but it was doable. Then when we began to farm, we knew the way we needed to proceed.

A zero emissions truck at the Port of Long Beach, California.

For decades, environmental and community groups have pushed back against harmful pollution from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. The neighborhoods near these ports contain some of the most toxic air in the region, with port emissions a primary culprit. Ports are also one of the leading producers of smog-forming pollution in the most ozone-polluted region in the nation. 

bees on honeycomb

Why do we care about honeybees? Just browse the produce section of your local Trader Joe's or the football-field-long Berkeley Bowl, the popular Bay Area grocery store, to get a quick answer. It's estimated that one in every three bites of food we eat depends on honeybees for pollination, and they happen to be the healthiest bites, too. Without honeybees, the apples, avocados, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, melons and many other nutritious, California-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables we eat every day wouldn't exist.

A farmworker picks strawberries in Wayne County, NY.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants your feedback as it updates rules meant to protect children and adult agricultural workers from pesticides.

In this first installment of a weekly series, farmworkers share stories from the frontlines, illustrating why we need an even stronger standard than EPA proposes. Join them in taking action, and share your story below.

Harvested snap beans.

This week marks the official end to the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of genitalia-altering pesticide residues on snap beans. Numerous published studies by an EPA scientist found that rats fed vinclozolin in utero had feminized genitalia with malformations like vaginal pouches, undescended testicles, and malformed penises. Yet the EPA ban did not happen on its own.

Jesse Marquez of the Coalition for a Safe Environment (third from left) shows EPA staffers and others a Wilmington oil refinery, shortly before the public hearing.

On a sunny Wednesday in Wilmington, California, this week, instead of spending the day at work or taking their kids to the beach, community members gathered to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what it is like living near large oil refineries. The stories kept pouring in; children who were too sick to be allowed outside, explosions that send neighbors scurrying to safety, a pre-school teacher explaining how she has to evacuate her kids when the odors get too strong, and parents who can’t afford the medicine their kids need.

Plastic found in the ocean.

Have you ever dropped your phone in the water, never to find it again?

Well, according to new research out of Australia, that’s exactly what’s happening to 99 percent of the plastic that should be in the ocean; except, instead of one phone, we’re talking about millions of tons of plastic phone cases, straws, water bottles and other items that plasticize our lives. 

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