This spring, CalCAN, our advisors and partners have been featured in a steady stream of media pieces. Below is a short summary or excerpt from a select few of them. Visit our In the News page for a link to a full list of media coverage.
Climate change transforms how California farmers grow crops
May 2, 2019
Press Play’s Madeleine Brand interviews CalCAN Executive Director Renata Brillinger and New York Times journalist Kim Severson, who recently wrote From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows.
KCRW’s episode description: “Fire, floods, and pests are biblical nightmares that are now commonplace thanks to climate change. Modern farmers have to adapt. They’re changing crops, adjusting their growing seasons, figuring out whether or not it’s even worth continuing to farm. Nearly every crop is affected, from rice to apples and artichokes.”
Climate change tax for dining out? California restaurants add 1% fee to the bill
May 1, 2019
CalCAN Exec. Director Renata Brillinger said, “There’s a lot of bad news out there regarding climate change. But this solution of growing good food while improving the quality of our air and water through carbon sequestration, this is a hopeful response to all that grim news.”
The article covers CalCAN Alliance Member Zero Foodprint/The Perennial’s work to raise funds for California’s Healthy Soils Program through the private restaurant sector. If you’d like to advocate alongside CalCAN for robust state budget allocations to match farmer demand for Climate Smart Ag programs, join our mailing list or—if you are a farmer, rancher or representative of an organization or business—become a CalCAN Alliance Member.
California Farmers Try New Strategy to Cut Carbon
Apr. 27, 2019
The radio interview ran on at least eight NPR stations and featured California’s Healthy Soils Program, CalCAN’s work to advocate for it, and a Modesto almond farmer who received a grant. The story starts by stating “Cover crops can make soil healthy and help it soak up a lot of carbon. Now, California is paying farmers to grow them, to help meet its ambitious climate goals.”
“We have very ambitious climate goals and without natural and working lands, California simply won’t get there,” CalCAN Policy Director Jeanne Merrill says.
This piece also interviews Modesto almond farmer José Robles, employing a Healthy Soils Program grant in his operation for drought resilience, and CalCAN science advisor Dr. Kate Scow, Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology at UC Davis. Read more about Robles Farm’s story and those of other California farmer and rancher climate leaders on CalCAN’s site.
Growing Awareness: Climate Change and California’s Crops
Capital & Main
Apr. 22, 2019
This article highlights a 2018 report published in a peer-reviewed, open access scientific journal called Agronomy that laid out a stark future for California agriculture in the face of climate change:
“The research team concluded that almost all of California’s crops, together valued at more than $50 billion a year, will be endangered by rising temperatures and unstable weather patterns brought by climate change. The state will face wildly fluctuating precipitation patterns, leading to severe droughts and flooding, warming temperatures, more heat waves, and shorter chill seasons. The researchers wrote that the increased rate and scale of climate change ‘is beyond the realm of experience for the agricultural community,’ and that changes in the state’s crop output ‘would not only translate into national food security issues, but also economic impacts that could disrupt state and national commodity systems.’ “
The piece highlights policy solutions to equip farmers with resources to adapt to climate change, including the CalCAN-sponsored Assembly Bill 409, the Ag Adaptation Tools Bill, by Assemblymember Monique Limón and California Climate Smart Agriculture investments such as the Healthy Soils Program.
Organic Farm East of Denair Does Its Part on Climate Change. It’s Getting an Award.
Mar. 2, 2019
This article focuses on Burroughs Family Farm, one of five Agriculture Climate Leaders honored with an award at CalCAN’s 6th California Climate & Agriculture Summit in March 2019. Rosie and Ward Burroughs of Burroughs Family Farm received a Rancher Leader award. Other winners included:
- Researcher: Tapan Pathak of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Merced, who helps farmers adapt to climate change.
- Policymaker: Ken Alex, who was director of former Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research
- Legislative Staff: Brett Williams, office of Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks
- Agricultural Professional: Ruth Dalquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno
As Awareness Grows About Food’s Role in Climate Change, What Solutions Exist?
Feb. 19, 2019
The following are several quotes from CalCAN Executive Director Renata Brillinger from a longer piece covering a roundtable dialogue that also included CalCAN farmer advisor Rosie Burroughs, Burroughs Family Farms; Jon Foley, Project Drawdown; and Anna Lappé, author of Diet for a Hot Planet.
“We’re lucky in California to have a context where we can talk about climate change—even in agricultural communities—without ears shutting. Nonetheless, farmers are not typically motivated to bring forward their climate solutions because of the benefits to the climate. That’s not the first thing on their list of priorities when they get up to go to work every day; they’re thinking about staying in business, the market pressures and price, input costs, natural resources, and weather. They’re not necessarily saying, “I’m going to go out and sequester some carbon this morning.” But the connections, all the co-benefits that we get by doing climate-friendly practices, those are what speak to farmers.”
Legislation Would Provide Grants to Aid Ag’s Reaction to Climate Change
Feb. 10, 2019
The article highlights the Ag Adaptation Tools Bill, Assembly Bill 409 authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón and sponsored by CalCAN, which would provide competitive grants to help farmers and ranchers meet the climate change challenges.
Assemblymember Limón is quoted, “Climate change has taken a toll on farmers throughout the state and in my district. To protect our agricultural businesses, the livelihoods of hardworking Californians and address a changing climate, we need to invest in our farmers and support their effort to face these growing challenges. I’m proud to author this bill.”
CalCAN Policy Director Jeanne Merrill said, “There are many tools in the toolbox for farmers to adapt to a changing climate and become more resilient, but we need to make those tools accessible and relevant. From business planning to conservation management, we need to support farmers in staying on the land and thriving in ways that are good for them and our communities.”