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Food has strong positive images for most of us. Who doesn’t think nostalgically about the aroma of chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven on a wintry day? Think about your favorite memories of summer. Don’t they include picking and eating strawberries right off the vine or feasting on corn on the cob at a barbecue?

And yet, our agricultural system has become so dependent on pesticides that all of these positive images must also include a strongly negative image, pervasive poisons. Often without our knowledge, most food in the U.S. today is produced using an awesome arsenal of chemical pesticides. These chemicals damage our health, contaminate air and water, and pose hazards for the entire ecosystem.

A Direct Path to Change
The solution to the problems caused by our agricultural system’s reliance on pesticides is, quite literally, in our hands. We can all use our food purchases to support farmers who use sustainable management techniques and to encourage more farmers to make the transition. Every time you buy organically- and locally- grown food, you are sending a clear message about the need to reduce pesticide use. We urge you to send this message every time you shop.

Take Charge!
Take this opportunity to protect your own health, the health of your family, the health of the people who produce our food, and the health of the environment. Growing food does not have to mean using poisons. Let’s put our food dollars to work!

BY CAROLINE COX
NORTHWEST COALITION FOR ALTERNATIVES TO PESTICIDES/NCAP