As we near the end of another year here at Community Alliance with Family Farmers, we’re reflecting on changes ─ both positive and challenging ─ that have occurred since this time last year. In spite of change, one thing remains constant: we are privileged to support and champion California’s family farmers and share our work with friends like you!
We’re pleased to share our 2016 highlights below. Please consider supporting our work with a tax-deductible donation so we can continue our work in 2017 on behalf of family farmers.
Supporting Farmer Livelihood with the Farm to Market Program
Over the past year, the CAFF Farm to Market Program has strived to open up institutional markets to farmers by focusing on helping schools and hospitals buy local. We partnered with 30 school districts around the state in 2016 and directed over $600,000 in farm sales to schools and hospitals over the past year. It was hard work, but the CAFF Farm to Market team enjoyed every minute of it! From developing marketing materials on farmers for schools and hospitals, to organizing a collective purchase of local produce for five schools in celebration of Earth Day, the work remained full and engaging as we help students and hospital staff and patients access and appreciate fresh, healthy food and farmers expand their sales.
Additionally, CAFF continued to lead the work of the California Farm to School Network, which aligns farm to school efforts around the state, provides resources, and brings farmers, distributors, schools, and communities together. We look forward to continuing to support the network by hosting the California Farm to School Conference in Modesto in March 2017!
Climate-Smart Farming and Policy Advocacy
CAFF understands how important it is for family farmers to play a role in the larger movement to stop climate change, as CAFF supported AB 32, helped to found the California Climate and Agriculture Network, and has worked to convince the California government to see agriculture as part of the solution. 2016 marked the inauguration of CAFF’s Climate-Smart Farming Program, which builds on our policy work and will be focused on outreach to family farmers. This new program will begin with pilot projects that train farmers to implement climate-smart farming practices as we also evaluate the impacts, such as no-till intensive vegetable production, cover cropping and rotational grazing in perennial crops, and a variety of measures that increase irrigation efficiency.
We were also excited to have championed and worked on two climate-smart farming bills that passed through the State Legislature and were signed into the law by Governor Jerry Brown:
• Senate Bill 859 reforms the Department of Food and Agriculture’s Environmental Farming Program and establishes the Healthy Soils Program at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which will provide financial incentives and technical assistance to farmers who adopt climate-smart farming practices
• Assembly Bill 1613 appropriates $7.5 million from the state’s cap-and-trade program revenues to support the Healthy Soils Program.
CAFF policy staff will continue working in Sacramento to advocate for state funding and programs that incentivize and support farmers to implement climate-smart farming practices, in addition to our ongoing efforts to create sustainable local and regional food systems in California.
Looking Back to Look Ahead
As you gather this season with family and friends around the table, join us in reflecting on the importance of family farmers in our lives and the work that still needs to be done to build a just and sustainable food system for everyone. Be part of this work by supporting Community Alliance with Family Farmers during this season of celebration and giving.
Thank you for your support!