Sacramento Sustainability Forum 2.0

SSF 2.0 is a public engagement & education platform empowering the community to create a more sustainable society.

2011 November: Sustainability of Our Food & Health

The Problems with Pesticides, Herbicides, and GMO v. The Benefits of Local, Organic Production and Our Health

Paul Towers

Paul Towers has more than eight years experience in community organizing, advocacy, fundraising and organizational development with environmental, health and social justice organizations. At Pesticide Action Network (PAN), he coordinates work related to corporate accountability, media relations, and on-the-ground advocacy & organizing aimed at building healthier food and farming systems. Before joining PAN, he directed Pesticide Watch Education Fund, and was a community organizer with New England-based Toxins Action Center. Paul is also a graduate of Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. Paul currently serves on the steering committees of two California coalitions - the Central Vally Air Quality Coalition and Californians for Pesticide Reform, and serves on the Environmental Advisory Board of Capital Public Radio.

Belinda Martineau

Belinda Martineau, Ph.D., was a genetic engineer in a previous life. As a Principal Scientist at Calgene, Inc. (in Davis, CA), she helped bring the world’s first commercially available genetically engineered whole food, the Flavr Savr™ tomato, to market. During the development of that tomato, however, she was transformed from a devout believer in the promise of agricultural biotechnology into a skeptic wary of its uncertainties.  Her book, First Fruit: The Creation of the Flavr Savr™ Tomato and the Birth of Biotech Food, details the birth of the ag biotech industry and her personal transformation. She has also written articles about biotechnology and other scientific issues for Orion, Cooking Light, California Coast and Ocean, and Nature Biotechnology, among other magazines.  Dr. Martineau is currently a Principal Editor with the Genome Center at U.C. Davis and occasionally gives talks to promote discussion of agricultural biotechnology, its warts and all.

"Organic Jack" Hertel

In the early ‘70s Hertel’s mother passed away from cancer at age 55.  Her early death started Hertel on an exploration mission learning all he could about nutrition and living healthy that’s still going on today. In the mid-80’s Hertel began what he calls an “organic” diet, about the same time he became involved with the beginnings of what would evolve into the thriving Auburn Farmers’ Market.  Hertel was one of a handful of community members instrumental in getting the fledgling farmers market concept of organizing local farmers to offer their produce to community members at a public market off the ground and operational.

For the last 18 years Hertel has been involved with a Community-Supported Agriculture program supplying about 250 families with locally grown organic produce in Harvest Boxes delivered every other week. In the past few years, Hertel has become a “health coach” to people who want to become healthier by better understanding the connection between an organic diet and better health. Foothill Organic Growers is a group of local organic farmers that have been offering locally grown organic produce for over 25 years! They provide and deliver fresh organic fruits, vegetables and Wheatgrass from local farms to you.

Pamm Larry

Founder & Ballot Initiative Organizer. Pamm Larry is a grandmother from Chico who had been studying all the issues around GMOs for about eight years. On January 20th, 2011, she had the idea that it was time for the people of California to vote on labeling genetically engineered foods. She took six weeks to learn what she needed to do, get a website set up, and strategize. On March 10th, 2011, she came out as the single voice to label GMO foods in California. She's been on the road for most of the time since, and is happy to report that there are now over 100 identified leaders around the state organizing their communities. Large organizations and businesses from around the country are now actively working on coordinating the signature gathering drive and have come together to create an ever growing coalition to get this on the ballot this year and then vote YES in 2012.