We are in the potato-growing areas of central and north central Minnesota. We came together starting in 2005. We have experienced health effects from pesticide drift. We have also seen health effects on animals, both domestic and wild. Our water has become polluted with high nitrate levels.
The pesticides that are harming us and our environment are drifting from potato fields owned by Ronald D. Offutt, or RDO, the largest potato grower in the world and one of McDonald’s leading potato suppliers.
Two groups, Minnesotans for Pesticide Awareness and a group from the White Earth Nation, have used Drift Catchers to monitor the problem of pesticides drifting into our communities. In 2012 Pesticide Action Network released a report documenting the findings from our Drift Catching. The data showed that our communities are breathing chlorothalonil, a fungicide widely used on potatoes, as well as several other chemicals.
Calling for Safer Taters
We are calling attention to this issue in our community, looking for a decrease in pesticide drift into our homes, schools and communities. Right now, we are focused on potato production, but we know production of other crops can cause pesticide drift too. And we know there are safer, healthier ways to produce the food we all need. We seek to encourage agricultural production that does not harm people or animals (domestic and wild), or pollute the air or water. We would like everyone to have food without pesticide residue. As one member has said, “Pesticides are designed to kill. They just don’t know when to stop.”
We want food grown in ways that are healthy for all of us.