ASI at UC Davis partners with Roots of Change to Magnify Voices for Climate Smart Agriculture
Guest blog by ASI (Image: Climate-smart farmers, advocates and scientists dialog on the future).
California’s rural communities face immense pressure from climate change and the environmental challenges inherent to agriculture. But the people living and working in these vulnerable communities aren’t often invited to the table when research and policy agendas are being set.
We here at the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis work to promote the vitality of rural communities and agriculture in California. Together with Roots of Change, we are embarking on a new initiative to make environmental and social justice concerns feature more prominently in the research and extension coming out of the University of California.
In order to do this, we are engaging people across the state to expand the bridge between the University of California and the people living and working in agricultural communities. Thanks to the generous support of Tomkat Foundation, we are holding a series of listening sessions and dialogues throughout the state—asking growers, sustainable agriculture non-profits, and environmental justice activists to talk about the climate-related issues they’re facing and explore opportunities to collaborate for a better future. We ask three simple questions: what keeps you up at night, what are the opportunities for the future and what is needed to leverage those opportunities?
In 2019, we co-hosted two events. One with the California Rice Commission and the other with the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN). Our next sessions, slated for early 2020, will feature dialogues with environmental justice groups and with agricultural stakeholders in various locations throughout California. We hope these dialogues will build new collaborations between the University of California and the changemakers in California agriculture and rural communities; shaping a forward-looking research agenda and policy options that will help our state develop climate mitigation and adaptation actions that benefit all. Here are two brief podcasts sent to stakeholders by our cohosts for the first two events. Hit these links to hear Tim Johnson, CEO of CalRice, and Renata Brillinger, Executive Director of CalCAN share with their allies why these dialogues are critical at this time.