Climate-Smart Agriculture & Food System Investments Secured in Proposition 4 Climate Bond

Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 by Brian Shobe
Signing ceremony for the historic $10 billion Climate Resilience Bond on July 3, clearing the way for it to be included on the November ballot as Proposition 4. Signing ceremony for the historic $10 billion Climate Resilience Bond on July 3, clearing the way for it to be included on the November ballot as Proposition 4.

Amidst an extreme heat wave and a growing number of active wildfires, a bipartisan supermajority of California legislators passed a historic $10 billion Climate Resilience Bond on July 3, clearing the way for it to be included on the November ballot as Proposition 4. If approved by a majority of voters in November, Proposition 4 will catalyze a wide range of investments to make rural and agricultural communities safer and more resilient to wildfires, floods, droughts, and extreme heat.

Breakdown of Agricultural Investments

Excitingly, Proposition 4 would make unprecedented investments in climate-resilient sustainable agriculture, local food system infrastructure, and farmworker health and well-being. Here is how those investments break down:

$385 million for climate resilient, sustainable agriculture, including:

$90 million for local food system infrastructure and healthy food access, including:

  • $15 million for farmer equipment-sharing programs and cooperatives, modeled on a CalCAN-sponsored bill (AB 2313, Bennett)
  • $20 million for year-round farmers market infrastructure
  • $15 million for Tribes to grow, produce, procure, and distribute foods that reflect Indigenous culture and traditions
  • $20 million for urban agriculture
  • $20 million for mobile markets

$635 million for farmworker health and well-being, including:

A Multi-Year Effort in the Making

The depth and breadth of the food system investments in Proposition 4 is the direct result of a multi-year campaign by the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition, of which CalCAN is a founding member, and the tireless advocacy of our legislative champions Assemblymember Lori Wilson and Speaker Robert Rivas.

Our coalition of 17 agricultural, environmental, farmworker, public health, and food security organizations came together in 2020 in response to the unprecedented supply chain disruptions and health inequities caused by the pandemic, wildfires, and drought-to-flood whiplash. The coalition made the case for funding to rebuild a more equitable and resilient food and farming system, and sponsored two bond proposals over the past four years: AB 125 (Rivas) and AB 408 (Wilson). Those proposals garnered the support of over 130 organizations and a dozen legislative co-authors. This sustained campaign significantly influenced bond negotiations and resulted in over $1 billion of the coalition’s priorities being reflected in Proposition 4.

Food and Farm Resilience Coalition members advocating at the Capitol.
Food and Farm Resilience Coalition members advocating at the Capitol earlier this year.

Additional Resilience Investments

In addition to the investments outlined above, Proposition 4 also includes the following wildfire, flood, and drought resilience investments, many of which will directly benefit farmers, ranchers, and rural communities:

  • $1.5 billion for wildfire and forest resilience infrastructure and programs, including $185 million for the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program and $185 million for the Local Fire Prevention Grants Program
  • $550 million for flood resilience infrastructure and programs to both improve flood safety and restore ecosystem functions
  • $386 million for groundwater recharge infrastructure
  • $386 million for water recycling infrastructure 
  • $75 million for water storage infrastructure
  • $75 million for water conservation in agricultural and urban areas
  • $75 million for regional conveyance infrastructure projects and repairs
  • $40 million for fairground upgrades to serve as community, staging, and evacuation centers during disasters

The Need for Proposition 4

Given California’s budget deficit and the lack of resources in the Governor’s 24-25 budget, Proposition 4 is likely the only source of funding for several of the popular programs and much-needed infrastructure investments described above. 

CalCAN and the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition will actively educate voters in the coming months about the critical need for this bond measure.

Here are the perspectives on the climate bond from three of the coalition’s members:

“Fires, droughts, and floods continue to increase food prices and threaten the livelihoods of farmers and farmworkers. This November, voters can act by voting to approve the climate bond to make our food and farm system more resilient. California’s family farmers and farmworkers are worth the investment.”

Brian Shobe, Policy Director, CalCAN

“The same week the Climate Bond was printed, extreme heat alerts hit the Central and Imperial Valleys, where many farmworkers labor in 100-degree heat. While labor laws protect them outdoors, who helps them cool down at home? Investments in energy-efficient programs for farmworkers, like the ones included in the bond, are instrumental to guarantee energy equity and resiliency for those more heavily impacted by extreme heat.”

Nayamin Martinez, Director, Central California Environmental Justice Network.

“With climate change exposing the fragility of our state’s agricultural supply chain, the time is now to build the infrastructure that small farmers need to provide healthy and nutritious food throughout our state. The local and regional food infrastructure investments proposed in Proposition 4 present a ripe opportunity for voters to help get food from California fields to Californians’ plates.”

Arohi Sharma, Senior Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council

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