Earth Democracy/FresCAMP


What is FresCAMP??

The Fresno Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides

Formed in July 1999, we are a grassroots volunteer group working to reduce the harmful presence of toxic pesticides and other chemicals in our air, water, and food.

Our mission:
To reduce the level of pesticide use in the San Joaquin Valley by educating the public about their misuse,
acting as a watchdog to the pesticide regulation agencies, and
promoting the role of organic agriculture in the Fresno community's food supply.

We want to reduce the amount of pesticides used in all areas of life:
school, workplace, home, garden, recreation area,
roadside, field and farm...
Contact us:
Joan Poss (559) 227-6134 in Fresno
Judy Stege at

FresCAMP works with and support education and environmental groups, including:

Beyond Pesticides

Our Water, Our World

Californians for Pesticide Reform

Pesticide Action Network

Californians for GE-Free Agriculture

National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides

Safe Air For Everyone Campaign

Central Valley Air Quality Coalition

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom


    By 1990, many residents of Fresno became aware of pesticide exposure in our fertile agricultural county, and began talking about the growing evidence of toxic chemicals used around crops and in urban neighborhoods.  In 1991, an action group was organized, which became known as the Fresno Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, or FresCAMP.   Some of the original members were Ingrid Carmean, Jill Fields, Jean Hays, Cindy Hoops, Joan Poss, Stan Poss, Rose Rowe, Justin Rubin, and Mark Stout.

    The volunteers of FresCAMP read the reports published by organizations like Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) and Californians for Pesticide Reform(CPR).  They attended conferences, and spoke at legislative meetings about pesticides in our air, water, and soil.  Their goal was to educate themselves and others about the toxicity of synthetic chemicals used on crops to kill weeds and insects.  They sought practical and available alternatives to toxic products, such as roach traps, weeding hoes, and healthy garden bugs.  

    FresCAMP has always stood for positive alternatives to the use of unhealthy pesticides, herbicides,and man-made chemicals
    which poison the air, water, and soil
    throughout the earth.

    Over the past twenty years FresCAMP:

    • Convinced Fresno Unified School District to stop regular spraying of Round Up in kindergarten play yards.
    • Joined with Fresno Unified School District to hold regular IPM meetings to help monitor use of toxic chemicals on school property.
    • Contacted Fresno County Supervisors and the Agricultural Commissioner about use of pesticide sprays 
    • Joined with Californians for Pesticide Reform ( on The “Safe Air for Everyone” (SAFE) Campaign and “Keep Methyl Iodide out of California”. 
    • Used grant money to distribute safe cleaning posters (in Spanish and English) and buckets with effective “old fashioned cleaners” like vinegar and soda  to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) mothers in Madera.
    • Co-sponsored and ran the Green Gardeners program with Fresno Metro Ministries to train professional gardeners about Integrated Pest Management. (IPM encourages soil enrichment, reduced water usage, and pesticide and herbicide free yards and parks.)

    Their efforts raised the awareness of many residents of the Central Valley, and helped pass legislation in Sacramento, like the Healthy Schools Act of 2000, which in January 2001 put into place “right-to-know requirements” such as notification, posting, and recordkeeping for pesticides used at schools.  Students, teachers, and neighborhoods are safer today because of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policies in action in school districts.  (IPM encourages the study of the environmental cause of infestation and the use of least toxic solutions, like baits.)

    The work of the Fresno Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides broadened.  Toxic pesticides were not the only concern of FresCAMP volunteers.  More scientific evidence was published in the last 10 years by groups like the Environmental Working Group ( about the toxic chemicals in our bodies and environment because of our American lifestyle.  Synthetic chemicals, such as anti-bacterial triclosan, are used in popular home products like toothpaste and shampoo, cleaning supplies, and building materials, with no testing for safety or long-term environmental impact.  FresCAMP has produced and distributed brochures explaining toxic warnings and giving alternatives for home, garden, and personal grooming products and activities.

    Another area of concern was the proliferation of genetically modified crops in the American food chain. During the same time that Europeans and Asians were banning products with GMOs because of concern for the environment and citizen health, American consumers were eating packaged food with many GMO soy, corn, and canola ingredients.  There is no way of knowing if this diet is related to the poor health of so many Americans of all ages today. After years of effort, in 2012 there was an on-going statewide campaign to have the Label GMOs California Initiative on the November 2012 ballot.  ( It failed, but efforts persist in California and other states to label GMO food sources.

    The volunteers of FresCAMP have come and gone, but a few have continued on call for twenty years to take action when needed.  In 2012, the Fresno Chapter of WILPF, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, assumed sponsorship of FresCAMP’s commitment to provide Central Valley citizens with information on positive alternatives for a sustainable, non-toxic lifestyle. WILPF Earth Democracy/FresCAMP is our current inclusive name.






    Prepared by


    Women’s International League

    For Peace and Freedom

    Earth Democracy/FresCAMP

    Commonly-used items in our homes, such as paint, plastics, household cleaners, fabric and stuffing on furniture, air fresheners, or craft supplies, are often toxic to humans and animals.

    FACT: In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen, causing leukemia. The EPA considers formaldehyde one of the major toxins in smog. Also, formaldehyde is found in many consumer products, including antiseptics, cosmetics, dish-washing liquids, paints, fabrics, shoe-care agents, medicines, glues and adhesives, nail polish, carpeting, furniture, and building materials. It is an indoor toxin, causing illness from breathing.

    FACT: Children’s toys which smell like plastic probably contain phthalates, which are suspected hormone disruptors. Other products which contain phthalates are vinyl mini-blinds, food packaging, plastic wrap, and vinyl flooring.

    FACT: “Active ingredients” in cleaning products are usually pesticides added to kill bacteria, viruses, or molds. Avoid them—they are hazardous chemicals. Use products which disclose all ingredients on the label.

     FACT: Endocrine Disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. Thyroid problems, birth defects, and cancers may be caused by Endocrine Disruptors.

    FACT: Federal legislation enacted in 1996 required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a screening program to identify potential Endocrine Disruptors. Not until October 2009 did any testing begin. About 10,000 chemicals were listed to be screened.

    FACT: In 2009 the EPA ordered the manufacturers of 67 pesticide chemicals to determine whether their chemicals may disrupt endocrine systems. Why are chemical companies doing the testing?

    FACT: Look for BPA-free products. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of possible hazards to fetuses, infants, and young children, so BPA is banned in baby bottles now. Yet most aluminum and metal food cans have linings that contain BPA. This plastic is generally hard, clear, and lightweight. Do not microwave in plastic.




    Protect your family:

    • Educate yourself and your family to reduce their risk and exposure to toxins.

    • Read labels carefully on all personal care products.

    • Never use adult products on babies and children.

    • Choose to take time to use safer “old fashioned” cleaning methods, like “elbow grease”.

    • Read labels on everything you bring into your home

    • Keep up on information about plastic products. Chemicals are released when old plastic breaks down.

    • Refuse to use products in home and yard that have warning labels (DANGER! or WARNING! or CAUTION!) or that advise calling the Poison Control Center if exposed to the product.


    We all want to keep our houses clean and healthy, but in our effort to do so, we use too many products that contain chemicals, which can be toxic to all life, especially children and pets in our homes, and fish and wildlife downstream and in the ocean.

    With these six products, you can clean just about anything safely:

    1. White vinegar Good for killing germs and deodorizing cookware, countertops, carpet, bathrooms, and drains. Dilute with water to avoid damaging the surfaces and materials being cleaned.

    2. Baking soda Used for gentle scouring, absorbing odors, and water softening

    3. Hydrogen peroxide An alternative to chlorine bleach; kills germs and bleaches

    4. Lemon juice Cuts grease, bleaches, and deodorizes. Removes tarnish from metals, except for silver.

    5. Castile soap Safe for skin, it’s an all-purpose cleaner, grease-cutter, and disinfectant. Use to wash away insect trails.

    6. Olive oil A wonderful furniture polish


    Our Water, Our World
    Assists consumers in managing home and garden pests

    Green America
    Provides consumers with environmentally friendly life-style options

    Environmental Working Group
    Provides updated guides for safer products

    Healthy Child, Healthy World
    Identifies toxic products in homes; promotes changes in policy and parental lifestyles

    Beyond Pesticides
    Protecting health and the environment with science, policy, and action

    Read a book:
    : Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Everyday Toxins and Harmful Household Products
    by Debra Lynn Dadd (Putman: 2005)




    Personal Choices for Healthy Families
    and Our Environmental Future

    Prepared by


    Women’s International League
    for Peace and Freedom

    Earth Democracy/FresCAMP

    Updated August 2013

    We can easily make decisions about our own homes and local environment which will provide a healthy sustainable future for our children.


    • Read all directions and warnings on garden products you buy.

    • Stop using hazardous chemicals in your home and yard now.

    • Buy plants which repel pests. For example, basil repels mosquitoes.

    • Learn about IPM (Integrated Pest Management) methods to control weeds and insects.

    Integrated Pest Management is the standard now recommended by most agricultural universities around the world. Pests are identified; then natural enemies and the least toxic biological techniques are used to eliminate the pests. University of California IPM website:


    • Learn about beneficial insects which naturally occur in healthy gardens.

    • Plant bushes and flowers to encourage birds and pollinators to visit your neighborhood.

    • Buy plants which repel pests. For example, basil repels mosquitoes.

    • Toss banana skins around rose bushes to deter aphids and ants.

    • Learn about and use homemade repellants like vinegar or soap.

    “Our Water, Our World“ is a website which assists consumers in managing home and garden pests. Information available in English and Spanish for printed reports.


    • Instead of going to the gym, grab your hula hoe and spend 30 minutes removing weeds and improving your health.

    • Bend and stretch to pluck snails in the morning or evening.

    • Check plants regularly for spots or insect damage; prune with hand cutters.

    Live in your garden and enjoy it!


    • Learn about low-water and low-maintenance landscaping.

    • Watch for water run-runoff or erosion, and adjust your irrigation system for the most efficient, waste-free watering.

    • Mulch around trees and plants in hot weather

    • Remove decorative lawns and replace with drought-resistant plants. This would save thousands of gallons of water a month


    • Purchase a compost bin or start a simple compost pile in a corner of your yard away from the vegetable garden.

    • Allow leaves and litter to remain on the soil to decompose and recycle back into the earth.

    • Learn about worms and nematodes which are disappearing from our soil because of herbicide and pesticide use.

    • Use organic steer or chicken manure instead of chemical fertilizers.

    Nature provided

    the plants and flowers

    in your garden,

    so invite all to enjoy them!

    Man-made chemicals from farms, factories, and homes have accumulated in our water, soil, and air for the past 50 years. The vast majority of these chemicals have not been tested for toxic effects. At the same time, health issues like cancer, birth defects, cognitive disorders, diabetes, and hormonal disruptions have increased.

    Today there is an increasing awareness that we need to use our science and technology to protect our earth’s precious environment from the effects of seven billion humans striving for a comfortable lifestyle. We are reconnecting with the wisdom of long-lived ancient cultures and practices which recycle, share resources, and remember the Precautionary Principal of replenishing resources and taking the least harmful action. Individual choices that families make each day will ripple out to cultural and political action to protect our future. Biodiversity is healthy, sustainable, and doable.


    Biological Urban Gardening Services
    The voice of Ecological Horticulture

    Parents for a Safer Environment
    Reducing Chemical Exposure in Contra Costa

    Pesticide Action Network of North America

    Database and info on toxic chemical pesticides and herbicides

    Chelsea Green Publishers – The Politics and Practice of Sustainable Living

    Good/Bad Garden Bugs of California

    Laminated chart with pictures of insect friends and pests

    Chemical-free plants, vegetables and fruit

    Ideas for low-water landscaping:





    Copyright 2004 1000 Friends of Fresno