CalCAN in the News: Mid-Year Media Roundup

Posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 by Becca Lucas

CalCAN in the News: Mid-Year Media Roundup

CalCAN and our coalition partners have been quoted in many news stories in 2021 (full list here).  The following excerpts provide a snapshot of the range of topics covered in the press.

California acts as a model for the nation and other states

How Bay Area farms could give Biden a blueprint for fighting climate change
SF Chronicle, February 12, 2021

“The California government has had several grant programs for climate-smart agriculture, which generated a lot more interest in switching over to these practices, said Renata Brillinger, executive director of advocacy group California Climate and Agriculture Network. In her ideal world, there would be even more grant programs to keep that momentum going. Farmers will “move in that direction as long as it makes economic sense to do so, as long as they can stay in business while sequestering carbon and improving air and water quality,” Brillinger said. Newsom promised to keep investing in these programs in his latest proposed state budget.”

Webinar Looks at Ways to Finance ‘Sustainable Ag’
 Lancaster Farming, March 2, 2021

“Jeanne Merrill, of the California Climate and Agriculture Network, or CalCAN, said that her program has looked to federal conservation Farm Bill programs as a model. However, she said that some of the language in those bills falls short in terms of technical assistance and financial incentives for those transitioning to more sustainable forms of farming.…At the state level, “climate smart” programs in California have pulled climate-related issues like these to the forefront…Merrill also said that lucrative finance programs need to be more relevant to diverse farmers, offer technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and offer incentives, if work on climate mitigation is to be viable.”

Lawmakers Asked for More Support for Conservation Programs
AgNet West, April 9, 2021

The letter states…’Technical assistance is essential for the delivery of conservation support for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners across the country by providing capacity and conservation planning to support conservation practice implementation.’ Signatories of the letter include American Farmland Trust, the National Association of Conservation Districts, the California Climate and Agriculture Network, American Society of Agronomy.”

AB 125, the Food and Farm Resilience Bond Measure

Some of the policies that CalCAN has co-sponsored this year, including AB-125—the food and farm resilience bond—cosponsored by 15 organizations, have also been highlighted in the news.

Climate, Agriculture Targeted in $3 Billion California Bond Bill
Bloomberg Law, March 16, 2021

“Protecting agriculture lands for groundwater recharge, climate resilience, and flood protection would also be included, as well as money for food composting and recycling. Agriculture, environment, food, and labor groups support the bill. ’AB 125 is an investment in our future that will help spur our economy and rebuild our food and farming systems to be more equitable for all Californians, while protecting our environment and our farmlands, so California’s agricultural industry can remain competitive for many decades to come,’ Assembly member Robert Rivas (D), who chairs the agriculture committee, said in a news release Tuesday.”

Food and ag bond proposal would boost the field-to-food bank supply chain  
AgriPulse, March 24, 2021

“A new proposal in the Legislature aims to support farmworkers and disadvantaged farmers while promoting climate-resilient farming practices. The measure also applies lessons learned from the pandemic to policies for bolstering the supply chain to food banks and food programs to better prepare the state for the next natural disaster.

“It’s time that we invest, it’s time that we improve and build a foundation for a better food system here in California to one that is more resilient, one that is more sustainable, and one that is more just,” said Assembly Agriculture Chair Robert Rivas of Hollister, author of the measure, Assembly Bill 125. The title of the bill encompasses the broad range of provisions within the proposal. The Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act would put a $3.1 billion bond measure on the November 2022 ballot.”

AB 125 Receiving Support from Multiple Farm Groups
AgNet West, April 7, 2021

“The legislation includes $477 million for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Funding would support grants for farmers and ranchers through the Healthy Soils Program as well as the Sustainable Water Enhancement and Efficient Program. Another $122.5 million in grants would be made possible through the California Farmland Conservancy Program. An additional $273 million would be made available for the California Department of Conservation. AB 125 also includes funding to support various nutrition programs and combat hunger through expanding access to health foods.”

Proposed bond legislation clears Assembly Ag Committee
Davis Enterprise, April 18, 2021

“A proposed $3.3 billion bond that proponents argue will “accelerate California’s economic recovery and build a healthier, more equitable and resilient food and farm system,” cleared the Assembly Agriculture Committee Thursday. Assembly Bill 125 — the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act — cleared the committee on a 10-0 vote.”

The following two opinion columns were published by members of the AB 125 coalition, making the case for state investments in farmworker housing and for small farmers and ranchers who have been left out of publicly funded pandemic relief and agriculture programs.

It’s critical that governor offer essential protection for essential farmworkers
Modesto Bee Op-ed by Nayamin Martinez of Central California Environmental Justice Network and Sarait Martinez of Centro Vinacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, (AB 125 co-sponsors) May 31, 2021

We were pleased to see that Governor Newsom’s proposed 2021-22 budget included funding for sustainable, climate-smart farming practices and to restore groundwater supplies to drought-proof our food system. However, we need to do better, especially for farmworkers. We urge the Governor and legislature to fund a stockpile of equipment to protect workers from smoke and COVID-19, build multi-unit affordable housing for farmworker families, and upgrade existing farmworker residences to be more energy efficient and with improved indoor air quality”

How California can create a more equitable food system
 CalMatters op-ed by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (AB 125 author) and Andy Naja-Riese, CEO of Agricultural Institute of Marin (AB 125 co-sponsor), June 8, 2021

“California can kickstart this much needed recovery now. In his May budget proposal, Gov. Newsom affirmed the need for significant investments in a healthier and more equitable food system. The governor’s proposal is complemented by a $780 million food and farming budget request championed by a bipartisan, bicameral group of 16 legislators. The spending plan would fund long overdue food system infrastructure projects that shorten the distance from farm to table, protect farmworkers, help farmers transition to more organic agricultural and climate resilient practices, create and restore jobs, and bring healthy, local food to many more people.”

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