GREENFIELD — Responding to community health concerns, Greenfield City Council unanimously adopted a resolution last Tuesday night directing city staff to halt all use of the carcinogenic weed killer Roundup and replace it with “greener” alternatives.
The vote came after weeks of vocal demands from Safe Ag Safe School (SASS) members and Greenfield residents, including Mayor Pro Tem Yanely Martinez, for stronger pesticide regulations in and outside the city. At the March 26 council meeting, SASS members and residents showed up reiterating their demands for better protections against hazardous pesticides and holding signs that read “Ban Roundup,” “Protect Our Children” and “Greenfield Roundup Free.”
The Greenfield resolution came on the heels of a second major court win against Monsanto-Bayer, the manufacturer of Roundup — this time brought by Edwin Hardeman, a Sonoma County resident who used the weed killer for the past 26 years at his residence.
The San Francisco federal jury awarded $80 million in damages to Hardeman, noting that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in Hardeman developing Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
In preparation for the discussion that took place Tuesday evening, Greenfield City Manager Paul Wood submitted to the council a memorandum, which states, “It is staff’s intention to complete a full analysis of its pest management policies in order to develop an overriding integrated pest management policy that takes advantage of new technologies, new procedures, and best practices related to pest management.”
Martinez noted that the resolution is “the first step of the city’s long-term initiative to protect its citizens from pesticides and move towards a pesticide-free community.”
“This is a great first step. We are starting with Roundup, but we will continue to fight to eliminate the most hazardous pesticides that affect our community,” said Rosa Lopez, Lideres Campesinas and SASS member.
SASS members in attendance said that they hope this initiative can move to other cities and school districts in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. As Dewayne Johnson, the school groundskeeper who won the first case against Monsanto, said, “I want to see all these schools stop using glyphosate, first California, then the rest of the country. That is my small mission.”