Formed in early 2021, the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition (ROC is a coalition partner) co-sponsored the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act (AB 125), that proposed placing a bond on the 2022 ballot.
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D – Hollister) authored AB 125, which would have invested $3.302 billion over five years in California’s food and farming infrastructure to accelerate California’s economic recovery from the COVID- 19 pandemic while combating climate change, improving food security, and protecting our essential farmworkers.
The bond included:
$700 million for regional and local food processing, distribution, and market infrastructure
$637 million for farmworker safety and well-being
$750 million for infrastructure to combat hunger
$1.245 billion for sustainable agriculture, on-farm climate resilience and biodiversity and compost facilities
With the state’s significant budget surplus in 2021, AB 125 did not advance to the ballot, but the coalition remains committed to achieving these critical investments laid out in the initial legislation.
In the two budget years between 2021 and 2023, we were able to secure a total of $2 billion to help transition California’s food and farming system toward one that is more climate-resilient, just, and equitable.
In 2023, the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition remains focused on our four pillar areas: sustainable agriculture, farmworker health and well-being, climate-friendly healthy food access and regional food infrastructure. Assemblymember Lori Wilson (Assembly District 11) is championing our 2023 Food & Farm Resilience bond bill, AB 408.
Update: April 11, 2023
As of April 10, AB 408 has passed through the Assembly Ag Committee and Natural Resources Committee. The next step for AB 408 is the Appropriations Committee later this spring. Read the full press release here.
The bill will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations committee later this spring.
Lobby Week (week of April 17, 2023)
To raise awareness and additional support for AB 408 the Food & Farm Resilience Coalition is organizing a hybrid lobby week of virtual and in-person visits during the week of April 17.
The coalition encourages individuals and organizations to sign the AB 408 support letter. Interested participants are invited to contact FFRC directly for additional ways to support AB 408. This is an important opportunity for individuals to make their voices heard and advocate for much-needed investments in a more sustainable, equitable and resilient food system in California.
Update: May 9, 2022
The Budget Work Continues!
California has another huge budget surplus, and we continue to raise our collective voices about the need for more investments in healthy, just and resilient farms, climate-friendly healthy food access, and farmworker health and safety. In February, more than 50 organizations signed on to a letter calling for more than $660 million in this year’s budget. Here is a sample of what is on the list:
- Farmland Conservation: $100 million for farmland conservation + $500,000 to develop a process for consultation with Tribes on farmland conservation and right of first refusal + $25 million for land access for BIPOC farmers and beginning farmers
- Farmworker Housing and Emergency Notification: $25 million for home weatherization + $100 million for new housing + $12 million for heat and smoke notifications for farmworkers
- Workforce Development: $30 million to hire and train the next generation of agricultural professionals proficient in climate resilience + $15 million for new farmer training
- Climate Smart Agriculture: $170 million for healthy soils, water conservation and pollinator habitat grant programs
- Climate-Friendly Healthy Food Access Infrastructure: $100 million for low-income communities of color, rural, and Tribal communities to obtain or produce healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are grown, raised, produced, or gathered with certified organic, climate-friendly, or culturally relevant practices
- Farm-to-School: $33 million for grants for healthy food school infrastructure and personnel
You can read the full letter and see the impressive list of supporters here.
Some of our members testified at a budget committee hearing to elevate these needs. In March, more than 40 farmers, advocates and organizations attended virtual meetings with 39 legislative offices to tell their stories and make the case for the robust spending to safeguard our food supply, farmland and farm businesses, and farmworkers.
We also supported the leadership of Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee) who found 12 of his colleagues to sign on to a “Dear Colleague” letter calling for $423.5 million for many similar priorities (see the letter here).
There are two food and farm resilience bills being considered by the legislature, connected to our budget asks, that we are engaged in and working to strengthen.
AB 2499 — Creates an Organic Transition Program that would support low-resource and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in transitioning to certified organic production with grants and technical support. The program would be funded by the $15 million for organic transition that our coalition is asking for in the budget. The bill passed through its first committee on April 27th and will next be considered in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2538 — Creates a notification system that would send text and voice messages, in multiple languages, to residents and farmworkers to alert them of wildfire smoke health hazards in their area.
We will continue to update this page. Stay tuned.
Image: Doris Meier