Toxic Taters Week of Action
RD Offutt Company (RDO) is the largest potato producer in the world. Every year, they grow over 50,000 acres of potatoes, many of which turn into McDonald’s french fries. Growing potatoes conventionally is a chemically intensive process, and at the height of the potato growing season, pesticides are applied to the potato fields every 5-7 days. Unfortunately, these pesticides don’t stay where they’re put, and frequently drift onto neighboring farms, homes, or schools, or contaminate nearby waterways.
As a major purchaser of RDO’s potatoes, McDonald’s has the power to make positive change by requiring its growers to reduce pesticide use. But while McDonald’s has pledged to reduce potato pesticides, so far the company has invested more in marketing its commitments than making good on them.
In 2014, tired of waiting for change, Toxic Taters (www.toxictaters.org), made up of family farmers, rural community members, and Indigenous people in northern Minnesota, took the state by storm - crossing Minnesota with a major educational campaign teaching people about the damages of pesticides and how to get involved in the campaign. In October 2014, Toxic Taters and Pesticide Action Network organized a statewide Day of Action, holding actions at 16 stores across Minnesota, and working with partners around the country to email and call McDonald’s. Since RDO and McDonald’s still haven’t stepped up and delivered on their word, we’re now organizing a national Week of Action to increase the pressure on McDonald’s and demand that the corporation:
1. Require that its potato suppliers, like RDO, cut their use of pesticides
2. Tell the public what chemicals are being used on the potato fields
3. Fund studies to understand the human and ecological health effects on surrounding
4. Ensure that its potato producers adopt environmentally sound, sustainable agriculture
We need to remind McDonald’s of its 2009 promise and insist that it is time to protect rural families from pesticide drift.
Join us at the 8th Street McDonald's to stand in solidarity with rural families who are risk!
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