Roots of Change is a think and do tank, which means we take thoughtful and strategic action to change the food system. We believe government has a necessary and significant role to catalyze food and farming policies that put people and communities first. This page provides ways for interested people to lend a hand in our work, specifically through civic action.


ROC has succeeded again by winning one of the two legislative campaigns we led this year. We expanded the California Nutrition Incentive Act and its grant program that makes fresh food affordable. We actually did it through the budget process rather than the bill AB 2335. The bill’s author, Assemblymember Phil Ting (San Francisco), Chair of the Budget Committee, used the language of AB 2335 to complete a budget bill that was passed and signed by the Governor. With tremendous public support from chefs, consumers, retailers and farmers, the Assembly Agriculture Committee passed with bipartisan support our Small Poultry Producer Protection Act AB 2909, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (Healdsburg). Sadly, the Assembly Appropriations Committee killed the bill which eliminated outdated and unnecessary regulations. We will reintroduce our proposal next year. Learn more details about the bills below.

AB 2909 The Small Poultry Producers Protection Act
(Dr. Jim Wood, Healdsburg)

Until now, the small poultry and rabbit farmers of the state have been unfairly restricted from growing their businesses by outdated regulations. The bill for the first time allows farmers of 20,000 or less birds and rabbits to hire non-family members to raise and process animals on the farm. It also for the first time allows the same producers to become an “approved source.” This permits them to sell to hotels, restaurants, retail grocers or food service companies if the farmer registers with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and abides by the department’s guidelines for animal welfare and food safety practices, including source traceability. It is a common sense approach aligned with the farm-to-fork values of the state and four CDFA strategic goals: Ease the Burden of Regulation on Agriculture While Maintaining Health, Safety and Environmental Standards; Assure a Strong Labor Force through Fairness to Agricultural Workers and Employers; Promote Robust Regional Markets for All California Producers; and Cultivate the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers.

⇒  Link to AB 2909 Fact Sheet
⇒  Download Sample Support Letters for:

Please join our list of supporters be emailing In the email state your name, zip code and support for AB 2909 and we will add you to the list and share your support with the Legislature. Thank you!

Supporters of Record

  1. Agricultural Institute of Marin (Beth Schecter)
  2. Alvaro Garza
  3. Bacon and Butter (Amber Michel and Billy Zoellin)
  4. Bay Area Green Tours (Marissa LaManga)
  5. Big Night Restaurant Group (Emily Luchetti)
  6. BiteRite Market (Sam Mogannam)
  7. Boulettes Larder + Boulibar (Amaryll Schwertner)
  8. Border Grill (Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken)
  9. Boulevard (Dana Younkin)
  10. Brown Sugar Kitchen (Tanya Holland)
  11. California Institute for Rural Studies (Gail Wadsworth)
  12. Center for Land-based Learning (Mary Kimball)
  13. Community Alliance with Family Farmers (David Runsten)
  14. Chez Panisse (Alice Waters)
  15. Danielle Charney
  16. Davero Farms and Winery (Colleen McGlynn)
  17. Denis Paull
  18. Devils Gulch Ranch (Mark Pasternak)
  19. Dorothy Janke
  20. Elaine Benjamin
  21. Earth Fire Family Farm (Katrina Schultz)
  22. Fogline Farm (Caleb Barron)
  23. Foreign Cinema (Gayle Pirie and Andrew Dovel)
  24. Green Star Farm (Sarah Silver)
  25. Humboldt Food Policy Council (May Patiño)
  26. Karen Meyer
  27. Kitchen Table Consultants (Rebecca Frimmer)
  28. Jardinière (Traci de Jardins)
  29. Linda Jones
  30. Marissa La Brecque, Founder Butchers Guild & Author
  31. Marlowe (Jose Campos)
  32. Mulvaney’s B&L (Patrick Mulvaney)
  33. OZ Family Farm (Kelly Osman)
  34. Old Grove Orange (Bob Knight)
  35. Parade Farming Company (Chris Robb, new farmer)
  36. Parkside Tavern (Larry Doyle)
  37. Paula LeDuc Fine Catering (Daniel Capra)
  38. Paula Shatkin
  39. Peg Champion
  40. Petit Marlowe (Brenda Aguilar)
  41. Petra Martinez-Diaz
  42. Preserve Farm Kitchens (Merrilee Olson)
  43. Rancho Llano Seco & Olivia Tincany & Co. (Olivia Tincani)
  44. Rashid Patch
  45. Rebecca Thistlethwaite
  46. San Diego Food Systems Alliance (Elly Brown)
  47. Savory Café Restaurant (Juan Barajas)
  48. Seaglass Restaurant & Curiosity Catering (Lorreta Keller)
  49. SHED (Douglas & Cindy Lipton)
  50. Shelley Albar
  51. Sherrill Futrell
  52. Skye Lark Ranch (Alexis and Gillies Robertson)
  53. Slow Food Sonoma County North (Carol Diaz)
  54. Slow Food Russian River (Paula Downing)
  55. Sonia Flowers
  56. Susan Hagemeister
  57. Susan Israel
  58. Sustainable Economies Law Center (Christina Oatfield)
  59. Table Bluff Farm (Hannah Eisloeffel)
  60. Tara Kamath
  61. The Cavalier (Carlos Kuk)
  62. The Local Butcher Shop (Aaron Rocchino)
  63. The Rockin R (Bryce Rauterkus, new farmer)
  64. V. Miller Meats
  65. Zazu Kitchen + Farm (Duskie Estes)


AB 2335
Expansion of the California Nutrition Incentive Act
Phil Ting, San Francisco & Rob Bonta, Oakland)

This bill builds on ROC’s previous success in creating the CA Nutrition Incentives Program in 2015 and winning a $5 million General Fund appropriation in 2016, under the legislative leadership of Assemblyman Ting. This update of the CNIP creates a pilot grant program in several counties to extend the nutrition incentive program to corner stores in under-resourced communities. Typically corner stores, which may be the only store in a neighborhood, do not offer fresh produce. The bill creates a $5 million grant program to outfit corners stores with refrigerated display boxes and technical assistance in healthy retail procedures. At the same time, ROC is seeking through the budget process $10 million for the existing CNIP grant program that serves CalFresh families buying fresh produce at farmers markets, farm stands and from Community Supported Agriculture projects. We are thrilled that Oakland’s Rob Bonta has joined forces with San Francisco’s Phil Ting to move the legislation forward. Both are true champions of food justice!

⇒  Link to AB 2335 Fact Sheet
⇒  Download Sample Support Letter

Please join our list of supporters be emailing In the email state your name, zip code and support for AB 2335 and we will add you to the list and share your support with the Legislature. Thank you!

Supporters of Record

  1. American Cancer Society
  2. American Heart Association, Co-Sponsor
  3. Bay Area Green Tours
  4. California Institute for Rural Studies
  5. California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)
  6. Center for Food Safety
  7. Craig McNamara, Sierra Orchards
  8. Danielle Charney
  9. Ecology Center
  10. Environmental Working Group
  11. Farm to Pantry
  12. Fitness Collaborative of the Central Coast
  13. Food Chain Workers Alliance
  14. GMO Free California
  15. Humboldt Food Policy Council
  16. Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Co-Sponsor
  17. Locally Delicious
  18. Los Angeles Food Policy Council
  19. Lucy Hicks
  20. Mulvaney’s B&L
  21. Natural Resources Defense Council
  22. Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
  23. Orange County Food Access Coalitio
  24. Peg Champion
  25. Pesticide Action Network
  26. Prevention Institute
  27. Public Health Advocates
  28. Public Health Institute, Co-Sponsor
  29. Rashid Patch
  30. San Diego Food Systems Alliance 
  31. Shelley Albar
  32. Sherrill Futrell
  33. Sierra Harvest
  34. Sonia Flores
  35. Social Justice Learning Institute



ROC’s top priority remains passage of a statewide tax on sugary beverages. We do this because the effort to make healthy, local and sustainable food and agriculture the norm requires a revenue stream. Surprisingly, California under invests in its food and farms. Only about 15% of the Department of Food and Agriculture’s budget comes from state coffers. Those investments that are made from California’s General Fund are not always on the changes we’d prioritize. Therefore the tax, which would raise hundreds of millions annually for food system investment, is imperative. ROC co-leads a large coalition of public health, food justice and sustainable agriculture organizations fighting for the passage of a tax measure. Such measures are hard to win because legislators naturally fear raising taxes that might anger constituents. 

This year, the Legislature is not considering our previous bill, AB 2782 The Healthy California Fund, because the leadership in the Assembly did not believe it could pass out of the Health Committee. Consequently, using a parliamentary procedure, the author of AB 2782, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (Santa Monica), placed a very generally written piece of similar legislation, AB 1003, in a hearing process. Over the late summer and fall, Bloom’s Select Committee on Prevention of Diabetes and Heart Disease will hold hearings on the bill and the tax concept in Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego. To help build participation in these hearings and to place pressure on legislators in the Health Committee, ROC is organizing with many partners community listening sessions in ten regions of the state. These hearings and our work this summer on updated and refined language, will prepare our coalition to resubmit a bill into the legislative process in 2018. If you’d like to learn more or to participate in a session near you, please email us

ROC is advocating for many bills in the legislative process. Visit the California Legislation page to see the bills we are tracking.



ROC successfully led the large coalition of food policy councils and allied nonprofits to convince the Legislature and Governor to fund the CA Nutrition Incentives Act (AB 1321, Phil Ting, San Francisco), which we sponsored and passed in 2015. Our action makes California the largest partner in the nation with USDA working to ensure that low income families receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps) can afford to buy healthy, fresh organic produce at farmers markets, farm stands and through CSA programs that deliver weekly boxes of farm fresh fruits and vegetables. This Act and funding improves nutrition for families most in need and it helps small organic farmers who work hard to deliver the best produce in the nation.

The campaign prompted no less than 127 organizations or high profile leaders to write the Legislature’s leadership and Governor in support of our call for funding. It generated over 1 million Twitter impressions to the Governor and Legislature and a Sacramento Bee Opinion Editorial in support. We won because the food movement spoke up!

ROC also actively supported two successful bills: the passage of Senate Bill 3 (Mark Leno, San Francisco), the minimum wage increase to help close the income gap and help lift food chain workers out of poverty, and Assembly Bill 1826 (Mark Stone, Santa Cruz), an update to the organic certification act lowering the burdens and fees on organic farmers.

We also worked with the California Climate and Agriculture Network and Community Alliance with Family Farmers to improve Senate Bill 1350 (Lois Wolk, Davis) to assist farmers and ranchers to improve our soils in order to better conserve water and recapture climate-harming carbon in the soil. The bill did not actually pass, but its intent was inserted into the 2016-17 budget bill and the California Department of Agriculture will implement the program proposed by Senator Wolk, providing $7.5 million for pilot projects. We believe this will lead to substantial funding for carbon capture and other sustainable farming practices in the future.



In addition to working with a coalition of organizations pursuing soil-building advocacy, Roots of Change is co-sponsoring:

AB 1321 (Ting) — Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program

ROC is co-sponsoring AB 1321 with Ecology Center and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, with Assemblymember Phil Ting (San Francisco) as lead author. Here is a synopsis for the policy we are pursuing, which would scale up a successful pilot that doubles the value of nutrition assistance benefits at farmers’ markets and small business retailers when used to purchase California grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. This bill is a win-win for California’s small- and mid-sized farmers, low-income Californians, and our state economy. It is a local economic development, anti-poverty and anti-hunger policy all rolled up into one bill — and it’s evidence-based. We also advocated for a line item in the state budget this year which made it into the Legislature’s budget but was deleted in the final budget agreement between Governor Brown and the legislative leadership.

Our coalition can use your support — click here to support the bill in its final step with Governor Brown! Here are a few resources in support of AB 1321 and the associated budget proposal:

On December 18, 2014, we had a one hour meeting with officials from the state Department of Food & Agriculture, Department of Social Services and Department of Public Health to discuss this statewide nutrition incentives program. We are working with our state agencies to find common ground for this program and have had multiple meetings since then. Listen to or download the meeting recording, along with the handouts:

AB 359 (Gonzalez) — Protecting Middle Class Grocery Jobs Through Worker Retention

Signed into law by Governor Brown on 8/17; read his signing statement!

ROC signed on to co-sponsor AB 359 with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) and Community Food & Justice Coalition (CFJC), with Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez as lead author. In cases where a big grocery store (15,000 square feet or larger) undergoes a change of ownership, this bill provides extensive protections to eligible employees that have worked for the former grocery store owner for a minimum of six months. It is modeled after similar ordinances that have been enacted at the local level across the state.

Job security and stability among grocery store workers is an important priority given that almost a quarter of Californians are still under the poverty level and without a 90 day retention period, poverty rates would be further exacerbated. Also, here are some AB 359 resources:

AB 1357 (Bloom) – Children and Family Health Promotion Program

ROC also signed on to co-sponsor this bill with the American Heart Association, Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment Advocacy & Leadership, CA Primary Care Association, CA Rural Indian Health Board, Council of Black Nurses LA, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Public Health Institute, Urban League and the 100 Black Men.

This bill would create the Children and Family Health Promotion Program, which will require a 2 cents per ounce fee on sugar drinks, with a portion of these funds going to the Department of Education for Farm-to-School and also to CDFA for supporting specialty crop sales and nutrition incentive programs. Unfortunately, the bill was killed in Assembly Health Committee with 10 No votes, 6 Ayes and the rest abstaining. It may be the

Here are some AB 1357 resources:





AB 2385 (Ting) — Market Match Nutrition Incentive Program

In 2014, Assemblymember Phil Ting (San Francisco) authored AB 2385, sponsored by Roots of Change. This bill would have created the Market Match Nutrition Incentive Program within the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This program would have provided grants for farmers’ markets and potentially other direct producer-to-consumer venues (CSA, farm stands or corner stores) that help low-income Californians afford healthy fruits, nuts, and vegetables. AB 2385 would have maximized California’s ability to take advantage of $100 million in federal matching monies made available through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program in the 2014 Farm Bill. Unfortunately, AB 2385 was held in Assembly Appropriations, despite the support from over 60 organizations.

AB 2385 Resources and Press

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