Advancing Social Justice Through Agricultural Solutions to the Climate Crisis
Climate change is having increasingly profound impacts on California farms and ranches, farmers and farmworkers, and the nation’s food supply, disproportionately harming low-income communities of color.
Policy change can encourage much-needed innovation and can deliver the system-wide resources needed to scale up agricultural practices that safeguard our food supply, keep family farmers on the land, and improve working and living conditions for farmworkers, people of color, and the rural poor.
CalCAN strives to balance the interconnected goals of achieving both ecological resilience and social justice in agriculture. Economic, racial, and gender equity are essential to the realization of these goals. Our policy positions must:
- Be informed by CalCAN advisors and partners from the communities most impacted by the initiative
- Be consistent with CalCAN’s role in representing organic and sustainable farmers
- Represent a net gain for building power and influence
- Align with our vision and guiding principles
- Explicitly account for the needs of small and medium-scale farmers as well as people of color, women, low-income/low wealth, farmworkers, and other marginalized populations
- Address issues within the expertise of CalCAN and our trusted partners and advisors
- Enable CalCAN to have an impact on the outcome and/or be an important expression of solidarity and reciprocity
- Have clearly articulated goals and outcomes
A Strategic Framework for CalCAN’s Role Advancing Social Justice
In 2021, CalCAN embarked on a participatory process to develop a Strategic Framework to guide us in becoming increasingly more strategic and inclusive change agents and collaborators, with particular attention on how we can more meaningfully advance racial, economic and gender equity.
Our three-year plan for implementing the Strategic Framework includes these actions:
Provide resources and support policy campaigns that address climate impacts on farmworkers such as housing, reducing pesticides, land access, and mitigating extreme weather events.
Collaborate with Environmental Justice Advocates
Be transparent and engage proactively with environmental justice leaders working on climate and agriculture issues to build trust and deepen collaboration.
Diversity & Representation
Develop and implement an action plan to ensure our advisors and farmer leaders accurately represent California agriculture demographics.
Develop staff and coalition processes for ongoing reflection, learning, and strengthening our commitment to farmers and our work on issues of racial and economic justice.
Cultivate an organizational culture that is inclusive and supports collaborative relationships with farmers of color, farmworkers, and environmental justice leaders.
Communications & Metrics
Establish mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and communicate our impact and to reflect on how to more strategically tackle the root causes of the harms caused by industrial agriculture to farmworkers, farmers of color, women farmers, and small and beginning farmers.