US (CA): Concerns about pesticide use the focus of visit by state agency director

The Head of the State Department Of Pesticide Regulation toured a research farm in Ventura County. It was the mid-2000s and Teresa Gomez made a living as a farmworker in the fields of Ventura County. "I worked on the strawberries, blueberries, everything in the field," said Gomez. "I never knew how dangerous pesticides were. Nobody told me."

Her concern about the use of pesticides turned her into an activist with the group Californians for Pesticide Reform. Today, she’s part of a group of people touring the Rodale Institute California Organic Center in Camarillo. The institute is doing research on pesticide-free growing. It was an opportunity for those concerned about the pesticide issue in the state to come together, and talk about the subject.

Among those on hand was Julie Henderson, the Acting Director of the State Department Of Pesticide Regulation. She says they've developed a workgroup of everyone from growers to community members to look at ways to move forward with safer, and sustainable pest management in a way that also supports the agricultural industry.

"We're not trying to solve it all tomorrow, but really trying to be thoughtful, and intentional about how we move forward," said Henderson. She added they aren't just looking at the agricultural industry, but also pest management in urban environments.

Pesticide use can be a complicated issue. Longtime Ventura County farmer Phil McGrath says they can be a quick fix. "Chemicals are magic," said McGrath. "You spray 'em, and they kill the bugs."

Read the complete article at KCLU 

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