Cultivating Community and Environmental Health

Models for sustainable and organic strategies to protect ecosystems, pollinators, and waterways

The 34th National Pesticide Forum

April 15-16, 2016

University of Southern Maine
Portland, ME

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who attended and helped organize the 34th National Forum, and a special thanks to our Forum sponsors! Read below for highlights from the event. Forum videos are available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Next Steps

Program Highlights

This years' Forum, Cultivating Community and Environmental Health: Models for sustainable and organic strategies to protect ecosystems, pollinators and waterways, focused on the adoption of policies to protect human health and the environment, and organic land and building management strategies. The Forum, with its broad range of speakers and collaborators, provided an opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to share efforts in building local, state and national strategies for strength and growth.

Quick Links

Friday Afternoon Tour

The event kicked off with an afternoon tour on Friday, starting at noon, where we explored regional organic food systems, with a guided tour of the USM Food Forest Garden, Broadturn Organic Farm, and a Healthy Living Center in Portland, featuring a rooftop garden and sustainable kitchen. Special thanks to the Maine Farm and Sea Cooperative and Saint Josephs College: Pearson Cafe for providing a healthy and organic lunch to attendees.

Friday Night Event: 

Friday night featured a special performance of A Sense of Wonder, by Kaiulani Lee, followed by a talk and book signing by Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us.

A Sense of Wonder, which is a one-woman play written, produced, and performed by Kaiulani Lee, is the story of Rachel Carson’s love for the natural world and her fight to defend it, much of it taking place in Maine! It is the story of the extremely private Ms. Carson thrust into the role of controversial public figure with the publication of Silent Spring. This powerful two-act play brings to life on stage Ms. Carson’s passionate message on the adverse health and environmental effects of pesticides, just as these toxic chemicals were becoming an increasingly common part of modern life. Kaiulani Lee brings to the writing and acting of A Sense of Wonder more than 35 years of experience in theatre, film, and television.

Kristin Ohlson, journalist and bestselling author. Her book, The Soil Will Save Us, makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming.

Saturday Highlights:

  • Aaron Blair, Ph.D., a National Cancer Institute researcher (emeritus), author of more than 450 publications on occupational and environmental causes of cancer, and the overall chair of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) evaluation panel that found glyphosate (Roundup) to be a carcinogen.
  • Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., a top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who received a prestigious national award for civic courage (Entomologist in the Crosshairs of Science and Corporate Politics) for his work on neonicotinoids and pollinator decline in the face of agency attempts to suppress his work. Read about Dr. Lundgren's plight in the Washington Post articles, Was a USDA Scientist Muzzled Because of His Bee Research?, and Whistleblower Might Add to His Complaint Against Agriculture Department.
  • Jim Gerritsen, an organic farmer who has owned and operated Wood Prairie Farm in northern Maine for 38 years, and president of the national farmer-run membership trade organization, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), which served as lead plaintiff in the landmark organic communityfederal lawsuit, OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto.
  • U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree was elected to represent Maine’s 1st district in the United States House of Representatives in 2008. As Maine Magazine wrote, “Pingree can work hard. Give her any job—chopping wood, planting a garden, canning vegetables, raising children, rewriting the U.S. Farm Bill—and she’s your woman.”
  • Will Allen and Kate Duesterberg, both together and separately, have many years of involvement in the field of sustainable agriculture. Will was one of the pioneers of organic farming in California, and is known throughout the U.S. and in other parts of the world as an expert on organic cotton. Will and Kate are both farm managers of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, VT, where they are active in food politics.
  • Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration. She holds a degree in agroecology and sustainable agriculture from UC Santa Cruz. She has a keen interest in integrating the disciplines of organic agriculture, sustainable land-use planning, ethnobotany, and ecosystem restoration in order to create beneficial social, economic, and ecological outcomes.
  • Montgomery County, MD Councilmember George Leventhal. As Council President, Mr. Leventhal was the lead sponsor of the landmark ordinance, Bill 52-14, that protects children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of unnecessary lawn and landscape pesticide. He wrote and championed the legislation, which restricts cosmetic pesticide use on lawns throughout the county –which is now the largest jurisdiction in the U.S. to do so on both private and public property.
  • Ecological Tick Management Workshop, featuring Ron Circe, an ecologist and manager of the over 700 acre Banshee Reeks Nature Preseve in Loudoun County, VA, where he employs natural practices to successfully manage ticks; and Daniel Sonenshine, Ph.D., professor emeritus and eminent scholar of biological sciences at Old Dominion University, who researches tick pheromones, tick immunity and tick-borne diseases.

    ...and More. See the list of speakers and read their bios here.


The 34th National Pesticide Forum was convened by Beyond Pesticides, Toxics Action Center, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), and University of Southern Maine Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Co-sponsors include: Eldredge Lumber & Hardware, Environment America, Food and Water Watch Maine, Friends of Casco Bay, GreenCAPE, Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, Organic Consumers Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine, Portland Pollinator Partnership, Portland Protectors, Protect South Portland, and Regeneration International.

Videos from Last Year's Conference

Miss out on the Forum? See Beyond Pesticides' Youtube page for videos of all the speakers, panels, and workshop discussions from the 34th National Pesticide Forum! Check out our past conferences here.

 If you would like more information about the conference, please email info@beyondpesticides, or call 202-543-5450.

THANK YOU! The generosity of our sponsors helps make conferences a great event year after year. The sponsors listed below contributed to the 34th National Pesticide Forum scholarship fund, making it possible for people from around the country to participate in one of the most important grassroots pesticide meetings of the year. Learn more about becoming a sponsor. Click on the logos for more information.