‘Alternatives to Pesticides Week’ was held last week as part of a campaign aiming to raise awareness of the health and the environmental risks posed by the use of pesticides in food cultivation and to highlight alternative solutions. Since being launched in France in 2006, the campaign has seen continuing success and this year expanded to include activities in several countries in Europe and Africa.
Organized by a network of French NGOs, the awareness-raising week highlighted not only the urgent need, but also the feasibility, of producing food and other crops without pesticides. In France 600 events were held across the country, focusing on the theme of pesticide use in gardens. In Belgium, the Pesticide Action Network Europe held a week-long exhibition showcasing alternatives to pesticide use and good practice examples. The exhibition featured campaigns such as ‘Sick of Pesticides’ run by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) as well as video testimonials from farmers who suffer from health problems as a result of pesticide exposure.
The Alternatives to Pesticides Week is coordinated by MDRGF, a Paris-based group promoting environmentally-friendly farming.