fruit

Safety is a Must!

By Lina Younes

This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week. EPA and its partners work together to create awareness among farmworkers and their families about the importance of being safe in rural communities around the farm, nurseries, and greenhouses. The Agency collaborates with federal, state, and non-profit agencies and associations in the implementation of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard in order to reduce risks of pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers, pesticide handlers and their families as well. Partners such as the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs and the Migrant Clinicians Network focus on providing training on the proper handling of pesticides and health concerns of farmworkers and their families. Training and outreach tools have been developed in English, Spanish, and other languages to ensure that farmworkers receive the proper information regardless of their native language.

In fact, one of the creative outreach tools developed through EPA’s sponsorship was the educational play for farmworkers and their families entitled “El Moscas y los pesticidas” (Flies and Pesticides) EPA’s Region VI office led the effort and the pesticide awareness play was performed at community events in Texas, New Mexico, and Washington State.

So, what are some tips to protect individuals who work in agricultural fields, nurseries, and greenhouses as well as their families from pesticide exposure?

  • Close windows of houses near fields during and after spraying.
  • Don’t eat fruit or vegetables directly from the field.
  • Always wash fruit and vegetables in clean water before eating.
  • Keep children away from where pesticides may be and store them out of their reach.
  • For the farmworker, pesticides may get on your clothes or body. Wash your clothes separately from the family laundry.
  • After work, shower or wash your body with soap and water. Shampoo your hair and then put on clean clothes.
  • Leave your work shoes or boots outside the house in order not to bring pesticide residues inside.
  • Don’t use agricultural pesticides in your home.
  • If pesticides get on your skin, wash it right away.
  • While working in a greenhouse or enclosed area, if you feel dizzy or sick, get out to an open area to breathe fresh air.

More information on agricultural worker safety and training is available on our website. To the farmworkers, thank you for the work you do.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Sustainable Agriculture Award Winners Conserve with Zeal

About the author: Timonie Hood has worked on EPA Region 9’s Resource Conservation Team for 10 years and is Co-Chair of EPA’s Green Building Workgroup.

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Feasting is something I really enjoy, and it’s so much better when the food is produced locally and sustainably! EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region recently recognized these amazing environmental and agricultural community leaders:

Innovative Family Farm Watershed Protection

The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District’s Voluntary Incentive Based Program on Agricultural Land in coastal Sonoma County is a small grass roots special district, and it is a special district indeed!

image of wetlandsBy working closely with small coastal family farms in the Estero Americano and Salmon Creek Watersheds they protected watersheds through direct on-farm conservation support.

Here are just a few of the things they did –

  • Worked closely with the agricultural community so a whopping 80% of landowners in both watersheds participated in reducing nutrient and sediment loadings,
  • Prevented 50,000 cubic years of sediment from entering streams through 25 restoration projects on 12 family farms,
  • Upgraded critical roads on 60% of all properties in the Salmon Creek Watershed, and
  • Conducted extensive soil, manure and water quality sampling.

This model watershed protection partnership has kept family farms both environmentally and economically sustainable, and I can’t wait to sample the harvest!

Another winner was recognized for developing super-sustainable fruit.

Zeal Brand Sustainable Fruit

Zeal brand was first introduced in the retail market in 2008 to promote sustainable farming practices. All Zeal fruit is certified by Protected Harvest to ensure that Zeal fruit is grown in compliance with the most environmentally and socially sound standards for soil, water, pesticides, and labor.

The Zeal brand is also pushes sustainability through the entire supply chain. All the brand’s packaging and marketing materials are designed to be low impact and sustainably produced. In addition, Zeal advertising materials are printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

I understand the company’s message is dear to every person involved — from field to fork. The production crews are proud to have a direct influence on the protection of the local environment and Zeal consumers are happy to buy fruit that supports growers making a difference.

For those of your with toddlers, I bet you’re thinking of that great tune, “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy.” My fork is ready – is yours?

These groups have done amazing sustainable agriculture work in California. Please share your ideas and tips on sustainable agriculture.

To learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Environmental award winners, visit http://www.epa.gov/region09/awards/09.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.