(By Dominica Navarro, Co-Director, and NCAP Staff)
As I sit at my desk writing to you and listening to the rainfall in a typically dry region east of the Cascade mountains, I feel the onset of the winter months fast approaching. These seasonal shifts have sunk deep into me, igniting a renewed attention to and observation of the beautiful and intricate relationships that exist in nature. The diversity of relations I see on the land I steward and in my own pesticide-free garden are micro-versions of the relationships I strive to build on a daily basis. They are relationships rooted in reciprocity and justice, while simultaneously creating an often hectic dance to the music of buzzing productivity.
Witnessing this ecological tradition of relationship building, we at NCAP, are committed to steadily strengthening our own relations, with the understanding that we are stronger together. We aim to strengthen our relationships with nature, and also the relationships we’ve built with the environmental and food systems partners we work with.
Looking back on 2021, we have immense appreciation and gratitude for the individuals with whom we have been able to engage, both remotely and in-person across our Northwest region.
Partner Highlights from 2021
The launch of our new Pláticas Participativas series could not have been possible without our amazing collaborators. This is a series of participatory workshops for the Latinx and Hispanic community in eastern Oregon to share our experience working with and around pesticides. We have heard from farm workers, landscapers, housekeepers, and mothers about their concerns as well as ideas for increased protections from the harms of toxic chemicals at work and at home. It’s important to come together to develop community-based solutions!
Shoutout to: Ana Elisa Wilson an NCAP-supported Community Leader, Abby Muñoz at the Migrant Education Program in Hermiston, Moises Hernandez at the Oregon Human Development Corporation in Madras, Kristin Ostrom at Oregon Rural Action.
Photo: Check out our new resources about exposure to pesticide drift, in English and Spanish.
We’re completing our third year of a strategic partnership with Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). Although we are sad to see Kristin Schafer step away from her Executive Director role, we are excited to continue to grow relationships with PANNA staff and partners. This year we collaborated in a variety of fruitful ways, including producing pesticide drift information resources for our region and translating a national report into Spanish for increased accessibility.
Shoutout to: Willa Childress and Emily Marquez at PANNA, and Jane Sellen at Californians for Pesticide Reform.
Photo: Learn more about our work to support Thriving Ecosystems that are pesticide-free.
Recently we’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with existing partners and build new relationships to make our waterways cleaner. We worked with the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association (WSNLA) and ecoPRO certified sustainable landscape professionals on their steering committee to plan videos to highlight the importance of sustainable landscaping practices and distribute our resources to Washington nursery growers and landscapers. Clackamas Water Environment Services has been a long-time NCAP partner, helping us create educational programming and resources focused on water quality and best management practices. We also began a new relationship with the Clean Rivers Coalition (CRC), helping them with a new video series about pesticide-free lawn care.
Shoutout to: Breanne Chavez at WSNLA, the ecoPRO steering committee, Gail Shaloum and staff at Clackamas Water Environment Services, Keri Handaly and Roy Iwai and members of the CRC.
Photo: To learn more about our Pesticide-Free Food & Farming efforts, click here.
At the start of the pandemic, NCAP joined the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance (IIRA) founded by organizers at the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils (IORC) to help fill the void of pandemic relief support being offered to the Idaho immigrant community. Together we have resourced vital conversations, raised mutual aid funds, and distributed needed PPE. We also worked closely with the IORC Ag and Food Team to continue to uplift injustices within our food system and creatively engage our community in conversations around increasing land access for BIPOC farms, and availability of locally relevant food.
Shoutout to: Irene Ruiz, bilingual community organizer with IORC, Samantha Guerrero, bilingual Ag and Food Organizer with IORC, all member sof the IORC Ag and Food Team and our colleagues from the other member organizations of IIRA, including: United Farm Workers, PODER of Idaho, Community Council of Idaho, ACLU of Idaho, Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Immigrant Justice Idaho, Visión 2C Resource Council and Indigenous Idaho Alliance.
Photo: Learn how you can volunteer with NCAP- it's fun and feels great to help create a healthy environment.
Engaging with supporters out in the community continued to be a challenge this year, but we successfully partnered with Friends of Trees Eugene to host two volunteer days in early summer. We weeded and mulched around trees that had recently been planted alongside a busy highway, to help the trees survive the first few fragile years of life without the use of toxic herbicides.
Shoutout to: Erik Burke and Taylor Glass at Friends of Trees.
Photo: Your business could host an NCAP workshop or another event for customers, through our Business League.
Several businesses that prioritize environmental health partnered with us this year to advance alternatives to pesticides. Frey Vineyards hosted a virtual wine tasting and alternatives education event with us in February. Down to Earth and Mountain Rose Herbs hosted a pop-in workshop in June about how to create healthy habitat for bees and other pollinators in your own backyard. GloryBee and Moon Valley Organics sponsored our Creepy Crawly Campaign in October, and Café Mam provided us with generous unrestricted support to keep our organization healthy during the pandemic.
Shoutout to: Katrina Frey and Elena Valle at Frey Vineyards, Rachel Klinnert at Down to Earth, Maia Wisher-Warren at Mountain Rose Herbs, Lynne Fessenden at GloryBee, Kim Otto At Moon Valley Organics, Brad Lerch at Café Mam.