April 4, 2017
Nutrition doctoral student Bi-sek Hsiao recently published an Op-Ed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette in support of local action to protect pollinators.
In her opinion piece, Hsiao urged residents in the towns of Cummington and Plainfield, MA, to ratify town resolutions to become pollinator-friendly communities, which includes practices such as “planting more native forage species and creating suitable habitat, adopting chemical-free lawn and landscaping practices, avoiding insecticide use, and avoiding planting of flowering plants and seeds that have been treated with neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides.”
Hsiao’s commentary followed from policy debates discussed in her Food and Nutrition Policy course taught by Assistant Professor of Nutrition Lorraine Cordeiro.
“As an applied course, these students were affecting policy during the semester,” Cordeiro notes. “They wrote Op-Ed pieces for publication in local newspapers, policy papers for distribution in national networks, and letters to representatives advocating for specific food and nutrition policies.”
Student policy teams worked together on issues including promoting healthy ecosystems for pollinators locally as a means of protecting biodiversity, promoting food security, and engagement key stakeholders of Massachusetts key food crops; promoting Summer Meals for low-income children in order to alleviate hunger during the summer months and promote optimal health in children; and promoting Farm to School initiatives: advocacy for national policies and grant funding for these initiatives.
"Pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat," Hsiao wrote. "Yet, pollinators are in rapid decline, due largely to habitat loss and expanded use of systemic pesticides. Without conscious actions to protect pollinators, we will face major threats to crop production and food security."
[Editor’s note: Cummington and Plainfield both passed the pollinator resolutions during town meetings held the first week of May.]