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VC-CAPS (Ventura County Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety)

Organization Mission

To protect public health, improve environmental quality and support a sustainable and just agricultural system by building a diverse movement across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties to change local and statewide pesticide policies and practices.

Social Change Project:

In 2017, a staggering 205 million pounds of agricultural pesticides were used in California, roughly 20 percent of the national total — with 5.4 million pounds used in Santa Barbara alone. Many of these pesticides are hazardous to humans and the environment. Our goal is to build the pesticide reform movement in Santa Barbara County. We will build local leadership, identify local campaign priorities, cultivate relationships with local decision makers, maintain a sustained media and social media presence, and connect local efforts to statewide work in order to promote the transition to safe, sustainable farming in Santa Barbara County.

Growing up in Santa Maria, I have always been grateful for all the hard work of farmworkers. I have also seen how our farmworkers lack political representation and fair wages for all the hard back-breaking labor they do. In addition, they face serious health risks as they work closely with toxic pesticides. When I was working as a community organizer with CAUSE, Adam Vega from California for Pesticide Reform opened the possibility to advocate against the use of chlorpyrifos, which is known to cause cancer and other health complications. We met with our Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner to talk about this issue. Even though we did not reach a concrete agreement, I feel that our farmworker’s voices are finally being heard in spaces of political importance.

- Joana Barrera