The Alliance for Food and Farming, a nonprofit group representing farmers of fruits and vegetables, has announced the addition of a new section to its website featuring real farmers talking about pest and disease control methods on both conventional and organic produce farms. The website can be found at www.safefruitsandveggies.com under the section titled “Ask the Experts.”
“Who better to talk with consumers about how fruits and vegetables are grown than the farmers of these products themselves?” said Marilyn Dolan, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming. “Farmers understand that consumers are concerned about the safety of the foods they eat and feed their children, especially when it comes to the issue of pesticide residues. Our website is devoted exclusively to the topic of pesticide residues and utilizes credible, science-based information consumers often don’t receive from other sources.”
Dolan explained this new section of the website features interviews with real farmers who grow both conventionally and organically grown fruits and vegetables. In these interviews farmers explain how pesticide use has changed over the past several years; they describe the strict government regulations that must be followed whenever pesticides are applied on conventional or organic acreage and they note the increasing similarities between pest and disease control methods used on their organic farms and practices used on conventional farms.
“Pesticide use statistics in California, where a significant percentage of the U.S.-produced fruits and vegetables are grown, show that the use of older, broad-based pesticides has declined 66 percent in the past 10 years,” said Dolan, noting that an independent analysis of long-term pesticide use trends in California agriculture also can be found on the Safe Fruits and Veggies website. “Today just 2 percent of all pesticides used in California are in this category of broad-based pesticides, while 39 percent of the pesticides used are registered for organic farming.”
Dolan added that farmers are increasingly transitioning to reduced risk and more environmentally friendly pesticides.
“These farmers use many of the same pest and disease control strategies on both their organic and conventional farms, including using the same pesticides,” said Dolan.
She also explained that when farmers do use a pesticide on their conventional acreage in California they must comply with more than 70 laws to ensure the safety of their actions.
“What people don’t realize is that farmers and their families often live and work on their own farms, and they feed the foods they grow to their own children. This is strong motivation to use the safest farming practices possible,” said Dolan.
Farmer interviews on the site are organized into brief segments designed to answer common questions consumers may have about pesticide use, and the site allows for people to submit their own questions. The Alliance for Food and Farming has plans to add additional interviews from farmers as well as video footage of other experts on the topic of pesticide residues and safety over the next few months.
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a nonprofit organization formed in 1989 that represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes. Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables, or organizations that represent produce farmers. The group’s mission is to deliver credible information to consumers about the safety of fruits and vegetables. The Alliance does not engage in any lobbying activities, nor does it accept any money or support from the pesticide industry.