Farmworkers Fight Back * Alternatives in Agriculture * Organizing Strategies (Volume 2, No. 1: Spring 1991)
People who live in cities -- especially people of color -- should pay attention to the struggle of farmworkers against pesticides. Many African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos -- including some comfortably in the urban middle class -- are only one generation away from rural poverty themselves. They should easily understand the importance of joining with farmworkers to secure decent environmental conditions in which to live and wok.
The idea that pesticides are solely a rural problem needs to be re-examined. Contrary to popular opinion, pesticides directly affect urban residents - especially poor people and people of color. The use of pesticides does not begin and end in the agricultural field. For example, in
Urban residents face other problems with pesticides. Pesticides poison our foods. Residents of housing projects which are routinely fumigated with dangerous pesticides, and children who play on lawns recently treated with pesticides are some of pesticides' many victims. Pesticide use is often more concentrated in urban areas, with household and garden users applying more pesticides per square inch to their living spaces, with less information about the chemicals they are using, than agricultural users in rural areas.
At the California Communities Against Toxics conference held in Kettleman City last April, about forty-five farmworkers were in attendance, mostly locals attracted to the event by the organizing efforts of the community group El Pueblo para el Aire y Agua Limpio. Two spokespeople from a major urban anti-pesticide group in
1 Pesticides and the Poor in California
by Luke Cole & Susan Bowyer
1 Urban Pesticide Problems?
3 Harvest of Hope: The Potential for Alternative Agriculture to Reduce Pesticide Use
by Jennifer Curtis
4 Organizing for a Change
by Elizabeth Martin
5 Rachel Carson Remembered
by Victor Lewis
8 Help Break the Circle of Poison!
9 The Circle of Poison (Chart)
12 Track Down Toxics and Send the Bill to Dow Chemical
12 New Money for Grassroots Efforts
13 An Open Letter to Environmentalists
by Dennis Martinez
19 "Grape-Free Zones" are the Latest Boycott Tool
20 Farmworkers Tackle Pesticides, Launch Apple Campaign