Philip Ackerman-Leist

How a Tiny Village Became the First Place in the World to Ban All Synthetic Pesticides

For hundreds of years, the people of Mals—a tiny village in the South Tirol province of northern Italy—had cherished their traditional foodways and kept their local agriculture organic. Yet the town is located high up in the Alps, and the conventional apple producers, heavily dependent on pesticides, were steadily overtaking the valley below. Aided by climate change, Big Apple (i.e., large corporate, industrialized apple growers) crept further up the region’s increasingly warmer valleys and mountainsides, its toxic sprays drifting with the valley’s ever-present winds and falling on the farms and fields of Mals—endangering their health, biodiversity, organic certifications, and their thriving tourism economy. 

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