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Greenfield City Council calls for posting of pesticide warnings
by Safe Ag Safe Schools (hektor [at] pesticidereform.org)
Thursday Mar 11th, 2021 10:46 AM
The Greenfield City Council on March 9th urged the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner to post in advance online notices of future pesticide applications. In a unanimous 4-0 vote, the councilmembers passed a resolution “that the City of Greenfield is in support of the posting of Notices of Intent online by the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner in advance of [restricted pesticide] applications."
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Greenfield, CA: The Greenfield City Council on March 9th urged the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner to post in advance online notices of future pesticide applications. In a unanimous 4-0 vote, the councilmembers passed a resolution “that the City of Greenfield is in support of the posting of Notices of Intent online by the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner in advance of [restricted pesticide] applications” (pp. 122-123 of Council packet).

Before California farmers can apply the most hazardous agricultural pesticides (“Restricted Materials" pesticides), they must submit a “Notice of Intent” (NOI) to the County Agricultural Commissioner at least 24 hours prior to application. The Ag Commissioner, Henry Gonzales, can then approve or deny that NOI, after assessing the potential effects of the pesticide on the environment and people. Currently, only the applicants and Ag Commissioner see these NOIs and their approvals or denials. The Greenfield City Council, as well as dozens of community members, called for this information to be made public in advance through online posting on the Ag Commissioner’s website.

The vote followed a public discussion of the web-posting of pesticide notices at the previous February 23rd Council meeting, at which more than two dozen community residents made public comments. At tonight’s meeting, fifteen more members of the public made statements in favor of the resolution.

Several Greenfield residents argued that a simple way to help parents better protect their children from hazardous pesticide drift would be to post upcoming pesticide application notices, so that precautions could be taken. Naomi Chico, 35-year Greenfield resident, said knowing what, when, and where pesticide applications were planned would give “time to put our clothing away, shut our windows, and have our loved ones inside of the house.”

Other comments expressed concern for worker safety in agricultural communities like Greenfield. Efrain Aguilera, eleven-year Greenfield resident and union representative for UFCW Local 5 that includes thousands of farmworker members, supports posting NOIs “in order to protect our farmworkers and our families within our community by having this information so farmworkers can protect themselves and co-workers from hazardous exposures.”

The Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, Cesar Lara, added that other local unions, including the United Farm Workers, Teamsters Local 890, and local branches of both major teacher unions, the California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association, support web-posting notices in advance of pesticide applications. Lara reminded the Council that ‘[t]he struggle to notify our communities about the applications of hazardous pesticides goes back many decades. In fact, the skull-and-crossbones sign-post warnings in the fields that we see today first started under orders from the Monterey County Ag Commissioner 40 years ago. The first such requirement in the State.”

There were no comments in opposition.

The Monterey County Ag Commissioner Gonzales attended neither the February 23rd nor the March 9th Greenfield City Council meetings and did not make a written public comment on the issue of posting pesticide application notices in advance on his county website.

Councilmember Yanely Martinez, closed the discussion in hopes Mayor Lance Walker, unable to attend the meeting, would be able to garner regional support from other elected officials as he suggested at the previous Council meeting. “It would be huge just to be able to stand in solidarity and send these messages [in support of web-posting NOIs] to our Ag Commissioner Henry Gonzales,” Councilmember Martinez said.

While the Greenfield resolution is the first of its kind in Monterey County, it’s not the first in the Monterey Bay region. The Watsonville City Council passed similar language calling on the Santa Cruz County Ag Commissioner to web-post notices of upcoming pesticide applications on October 27th of last year.


Californians for Pesticide Reform is a diverse, statewide coalition of over 185 member groups working to strengthen pesticide policies in California to protect public health and the environment. Member groups include public and children's health advocates, clean air and water groups, health practitioners, environmental justice groups, labor, education, farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates from across the state. Safe Ag Safe Schools is the Monterey Bay regional branch of Californians for Pesticide Reform with committees in Greenfield, Salinas, and Watsonville.
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