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Organic Consumers Association

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Oakland Organic Gardener Wins Battle Against Roundup

Diane Williams fought for two years to stop Oakland Unified from spraying the likely carcinogenic herbicide. And, finally, she was vindicated.

One day in June 2016, a gardener visited Oakland's Horace Mann Elementary School in West Oakland to inspect a plot of vegetables and herbs that she had been maintaining for six years. Suddenly, Diane Williams caught wind of something toxic.

"Some of the plants were dead, and I couldn't figure it out," said Williams, who works with Planting Justice, a small farm and nursery in West Oakland.

She said she could smell a chemical odor, too. Suspecting her garden had been poisoned, she called the Oakland Unified School District. Through that phone call and a subsequent meeting with the district's superintendent and several staff members, she had the explanation for her wilted plants: To control weeds, the school's groundskeepers were using Roundup, the signature product of Monsanto, now owned by Bayer.

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