CalCAN’s Commitments to Advancing Social Justice

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2022 by Renata Brillinger
strategic framework 2021

Advancing Social Justice

Our Revised Vision Statement

We envision a California agriculture system that is resilient, is a sink for greenhouse gases rather than a source, and that supports wildlife habitat and biological diversity.

Sustainable and organic farming and ranching practices rooted in ecological principles are widespread, readily accessible to all farmers, and supported by a robust network of technical advisors and researchers.

The people who grow our food have safe working conditions and agricultural communities have clean air and water, access to healthy food, and thriving rural economies.

To ensure our food security, abundant productive agricultural land is permanently protected, and new farmers have access to the land, capital, and technical resources they need to be successful.

At CalCAN, we are in the thick of the legislative session. This means a flurry of meetings with our coalition members to decide on our positions on two dozen bills related to climate change and agriculture. In addition to this legislative work, we continue to advocate for substantial budget investments in the food and farming sector to provide resources and infrastructure for climate smart farming practices, farmworker wellbeing, and food access programs.

As we consult throughout the year on a wide range of policy positions with our advisors and partners that have expertise in specific topics, we strive to balance the interconnected goals of achieving both ecological resilience and social justice in agriculture.

In 2021, CalCAN embarked on a process with our coalition members, advisors and a team of consultants to develop a Strategic Framework. This Framework describes our commitments to becoming increasingly more impactful and more collaborative, with particular attention on how we can more meaningfully advance racial, economic and gender equity in our policy initiatives and our organizational structure and culture.

This Framework includes revisions to our mission and vision statements and our guiding principles. We also identified six areas in which to focus during a three-year implementation plan to put the Framework into action. We believe that our work will become more powerful and transformative as we continue to explicitly and transparently advance justice and anti-racism in our policies, methods, and organizational structure.

Many years ago, CalCAN developed a set of principles that guide our priorities and policy positions. During the Strategic Framework process, we revised them to more powerfully articulate how we see our role in addressing injustice as advocates of a healthy and resilient agricultural system.

Our Guiding Principles.

Climate-friendly agriculture benefits all Californians.
Organic and sustainable agriculture practices offer environmental and public health benefits for all Californians, urban and rural.

There is power in structural change.
Policy change can drive a widespread transition to sustainable and organic agricultural practices that achieve economic justice and health equity.

Farmer experience must lead.
Farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, and other agriculture experts must be meaningfully consulted and engaged in leadership roles in order to develop and implement policy that leads to change on California’s farms and ranches.

All producers can contribute.
Agricultural sustainability is a continuum, and improvements can be made on all farms.

Policy must redress racial and economic injustice.
Agriculture and climate policy must explicitly address the needs of small and medium-scale farmers and those who are low-income/low wealth, people of color and women, as well as farmworkers and other marginalized populations that have been systematically disenfranchised by generations of injustices and health inequities.

Public resources can advance equity.
Public funding and technical assistance must be prioritized for small and medium-scale, diversified, and systematically disenfranchised farmers.

I hope you will take a few minutes to look through our Strategic Framework. We would love to hear from you with any input, questions, concerns or ideas. We will be sharing the progress we make on implementing the Framework on an annual basis, and invite your engagement in it at any time.

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