Safe Ag Safe Schools or SASS (formerly The Safe Strawberry Monterey Bay Working Group) is a coalition of 30-plus organizations and individuals working together to reduce pesticide exposure threats to the Monterey Bay region’s residents. The focus of SASS is to keep school children safe from hazardous pesticides that cause harm such as asthma and developmental delays.  The group was originally convened in response to a proposal to approve the carcinogenic fumigant pesticide methyl iodide on agricultural fields in California.  SASS seeks to inform and mobilize the people in the Monterey Bay region to make change and together keep schoolchildren safe.

As Safe Strawberry Monterey, the group successfully pushed the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution calling on the state to ban methyl iodide.  This local campaign was an important part of the statewide movement that successfully forced methyl iodide’s withdrawal from the market in 2012.

Currently, SASS is focused on increasing grassroots pressure on government decision makers to phase out hazardous drift-prone pesticides over the long term, and taking action to reduce hazardous pesticide use near schools and residential communities in the shorter term. To better protect our school children, we are calling for policies to be enacted by the County Ag Commissioners and the Department of Pesticide Regulation. These policies are to create a one-mile “buffer zone” around schools and a one-week advance notification to schools of any pesticide applications within one mile of school grounds.


A 2014 California Department of Public Health report found that 1 in 4 Monterey County schoolchildren attend school within 1/4-mile of fields that apply some of the most hazardous agricultural pesticides on the market.  That is the highest rate in the state.  The report also showed that Latino schoolchildren are most heavily impacted–320% more likely than white children to attend schools  near the heaviest use of hazardous pesticides in Monterey County.

Childen at Risk


Help SASS inform and mobilize the people in the Monterey Bay region to make change and together protect schoolchildren from the health threats of hazardous drift-prone pesticides.

Most immediately, help lobby our County Ag Commissioners or the Department of Pesticide Regulation to enact two policies:

1)     One-mile protective “buffer zones” around schools that are free from drift-prone hazardous pesticides; and

2)     One-week advanced notification of schools of any pesticide applications within one mile of school grounds.

Attend Meetings

Safe Ag Safe Schools has branches that meet in both the Salinas and Watsonville areas.  SASS consists of hundreds of community members who work on a voluntary basis.    Anyone interested is welcome to attend meetings.

Contact Us:
Sarait Martinez 

Organizing Director for Californians for Pesticide Reform

Cell: 831-512-3316 


December 2, 2016 – Salinas Public Hearing on California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s proposed new rules to limit the use of pesticides around schools:

Monterey County Herald

 May 10, 2016 – Salinas News conference at the Ag Commissioners headquarters on a pilot program to notify schools of pesticide application:

Telemundo TV



Monterey County Herald

The Californian

Visit the Safe Ag Safe Schools website for more information: