Join Community Alliance with Family Farmers as we head to the state Capitol (virtually) to call on lawmakers to invest in family farmers, regenerative agriculture, and healthier, more equitable local food systems for all. From public webinars featuring conversations with state leaders to one-on-one meetings between farmers and their assembly members, all week we invite you to help us amplify the voice of farmers and advocate for the changes we want to see in California.
WHAT WE’RE ASKING FOR:
CAFF is seeking legislative champions for approximately $60 million in one-time investments aimed at addressing the urgent need to ensure the ongoing viability of California’s small farmers, particularly those who have been historically underserved, and who are striving to farm sustainably.
In California, approximately three out of four farmers operate on less than 180 acres and/or less than $100,000 in annual sales and 19 percent–nearly 1 in 5–of California’s agricultural producers are socially disadvantaged. Many small and medium-sized farmers and local food hubs lost significant revenues as key markets were disrupted and remain unpredictable. Even before the pandemic, California’s small farmers were struggling – the barriers they face include lack of access to capital, land, federal aid, technical assistance, and more. These challenges have been confirmed by responses to our recent survey of CAFF’s farmer members across the state, voiced by participants at our recent annual California Small Farm Conference, and documented in CDFA’s 2020 Farmer Equity Act Report. Many are also included as policy ideas in the recently released report associated with Assembly Agriculture Chair Robert Rivas’ statewide agriculture tour.
CAFF has identified this package of one-time investments that would help to address these barriers and support California’s smallest and socially disadvantaged farmers:
This funding would provide on-the ground support through trusted and experienced partner organizations to help farmers overcome the many challenges farmers face including accessing Coronavirus relief funding through the incoming federal relief from the American Rescue Plan.
The BIFs program is an opportunity to establish on-farm demonstration projects, provide technical assistance, and foster farmer-to-farmer information exchange–all of which are proven methods that support small-scale producers to implement holistic practices to manage pest pressure utilizing less chemical inputs.
AB 1009 will support the development of community-based food hubs, promoting direct sales from small to mid-scale farmers to their local community, public schools and institutions. Food hubs will increase purchasing of healthy, local, and climate-friendly produce, boost the local farming economy, employ food system workers, and accelerate climate adaptation and resilience.
Regional farmer training centers provide culturally relevant assistance for socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers. Investing in beginning farmer and farmworker training programs will support the growth of food systems jobs and the local farming economy.
The proposed funding will support small-farm tool libraries across the state, funding existing and new programs to purchase tools, maintenance, training, library personnel, as well as infrastructure costs.
THREE OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET OUR STATE LEADERS
Online webinars are free and open to all. RSVP required.
A Conversation with Small Farms Legislative Champs
11 – 11:45AM
Week of Action Kickoff conversation with three family farmer champions. We’ll dig into specific issues facing small-scale farmers and discuss opportunities to support farmers in the future, including technical assistance, support for beginning farmers and farmworkers, sustainable pest management, and more. Featuring Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Assemblymember Robert Rivas and Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman.
Lunch Time Chat with Assemblymember Richard Bloom
11:30 AM – NOON
Join a conversation with California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom for a discussion around how he approaches food and farming issues. We’ll be taking about AB 1009 ( a bill he authored!) which works to develop food hubs across the state! And we’ll leave time for questions
THE CA DEPT of Food & AG WITH Secretary Karen Ross
11:30 AM – NOON
Closing out CAFF’s Week of Action, we’ll be speaking with Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, about the challenges and opportunities facing small and mid-sized family farmers, and answer any burning questions you may have!
CALLING ALL FAMILY FAMILY FARMERS!
Join us for CAFF’s (first ever!) Week of Action event, May 17 – 19th, a series of virtual meetings with your state legislators! In order to make change in the California food & farming landscape, legislators need to understand your story, your concerns, and your ideas. There is no need to be a lobbyist or policy wonk to join these meetings. Your state legislators need to hear from YOU.
WHERE: The new virtual format means you can participate from anywhere without the time and cost of traveling to the Capitol in Sacramento.
WHEN: May 17 -19th (meetings will take place at various times, likely two 30-min. meetings per participants plus a training with CAFF in advance)
WHO: Farmers, land stewards, and ranchers. No lobby day/policy experience necessary. CAFF will organizing and manage all meetings, provide you with training, necessary resources, and any additional support.
CAFF VALUES: The core values that guide CAFF’s advocacy include Ecological Stewardship, Justice & Equity, Practical Solutions, Economic Fairness, Strong Local Communities, and Centering Farmers. Learn more here.
HOW: If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the below form. Space is limited and because we’re aiming for a diverse, well-rounded mix of farmers from all corners of California, we can’t guarantee a spot for every farmer, but we’ll be in touch soon after receiving your submission. And thanks!