ROC and ROC Projects in the News

ROC in print and on radio, TV, and the web.

A nutrition program California should stop starving now

June 3, 2016 Roots of Change

Last year, California passed a modest bill that should have been a no-brainer. The California Nutrition Incentives Act set up a program to discount fruits and vegetables for CalFresh shoppers at farmers markets and farm stands.

Like the wholesome produce it was aimed at, the new program had ridiculous upsides: Healthier food for low-income families. More business for small farmers. Rural jobs. Matching federal dollars. An established pilot with a solid, years-long track record tied neatly to California’s version of food stamps.

All that remained was a little state money to attract matching funds authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill when, at the last minute – in a fit of fiscal restraint or low blood sugar, we aren’t sure which – state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown blanked the appropriation.

You can read the full story in the Sacramento Bee.

California Assemblyman Proposes Soda Tax

March 17, 2016 Roots of Change

In an attempt to combat high rates of obesity and diabetes in California, a lawmaker from Santa Monica announced Wednesday he is introducing bill that would tax sugary drinks.

It’s the seventh bill in the last six years designed to tax or add warning labels to sodas and other beverages with high sugar content. But, so far, none of them have become law.”Sugary beverages have no nutritional value,” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who is sponsoring the bill. If passed, it would impose a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks.

“Liquid sugar, when it enters the body, goes straight to the pancreas and then it’s converted to fat,” he warned at a press conference in Sacramento.

You can read the full story on Bakersfield Now.

Soda Tax Is Again Before California Legislators

Roots of Change

California lawmakers have again introduced legislation to impose a fee on sodas and other sugary beverages — not a true tax, but a “health impact fee” to be paid by beverage distributors.

Still, the presumption is that the two-cents-an-ounce fee — 24 cents on a 12-ounce can of soda — would be passed along to consumers, and, if passed, would raise $2 billion annually. “That’s real money,” said the legislation’s author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica.

The revenue would go into a “Healthy California Fund,” to be created by the bill. From there it would be spent on public health programs across the state, to fight obesity, diabetes and dental disease.

You can read the full story on KQED News.

Need for Improvement on Ag Policy

November 20, 2015 Roots of Change

OAKLAND, Calif. — A report released this week by the California Food Policy Council (CAFPC) and Roots of Change reveals the 2015 food and farm policy votes of California’s 120 elected state legislators. The 2015 CAFPC Report on Legislation Related to Food and Farming illustrates how despite some progress on food and agriculture issues, the Legislature and Governor continue to miss most opportunities to pass bills that will actually have the greatest impact on the people most harmed by the challenges connected to California’s food and farming system. Wages remain low for food and farm workers, healthy fresh produce is more expensive, sugary beverages are overly consumed and the impacts of climate change are least addressed for those most at risk from heat, water shortages and poor water quality.

You can read the full story in the Morning Ag Clips.

California Wants to Help Low-Income Residents Buy More Fresh Produce

November 19, 2015 Roots of Change

A new bill could help more Californians afford to shop at farmers’ markets and food hubs and help pave the way for similar efforts nationwide.

For many low-income folks living in food swamps, the problem isn’t so much a lack of food, as an overabundance of highly-processed, unhealthy foods. For some California residents, however, the scales might have just been tipped toward access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

In October, the state’s legislature passed the California Nutrition Incentives Act (AB 1321), a bill that could create a nutrition matching incentive program within the state’s Office of Farm to Fork.

You can read the full story on Civil Eats.

How Oakland’s Roots of Change is Transforming Food Policy in California

November 13, 2015 Roots of Change

What’s the difference between free range and organic chickens? Should I eat quinoa? And tell me again why organic spinach is twice the cost of conventional? Given the complexity of contemporary food systems and their related issues, it’s not surprising that some consumers latch onto simplistic answers to these confusing series of questions: GMOs = always bad! Small, organic farms = going to save the world! Big ag = the enemy!

You can read the full story in the KQED Bay Area Bites.

Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets

September 30, 2015 Roots of Change

Local leaders are working to get governor brown to pass a bill to let people on food stamps by fresh fruit and vegetables at local farmer’s markets.  The plan is trying to cash in on federal money as well. $100 million of federal money is the pot that helps families struggling to put food on the table. What it does is double the buying power of food stamps at farmers’ markets, so $10 can get you $20 worth of things there.

The bill aims to help the more than 11 million Californians living in poverty. San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting says these people and their families don’t have access to the safe and nutritious food offered at the more than 700 farmers markets in California. 

You can read the full story on NBC Bay Area News.

Put more fresh food on the dinner table for poor families

June 19, 2015 Michael R. Dimock

Despite California’s agricultural bounty, many rural and urban communities lack access to healthy foods, with millions relying on CalFresh for basic needs. Likewise, despite a thriving food movement and bustling farmers markets, smaller-scale farmers and businesses struggle to remain economically viable.

Assembly Bill 1321, which is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, would help change that by giving an incentive to CalFresh recipients to buy fresh produce: If they buy $10 worth of California-grown fruits and vegetables, they could get an additional $10 that day for more produce.

Families get more healthy food on the table. Farmers and small businesses sell more produce. Urban and agricultural communities see economic growth. Everybody wins.

Read the whole article in the The Sacramento Bee.

Native Food Sovereignty

May 18, 2015 Roots of Change

Tribe members explore importance of tradition in diet

Days of active genocide and diaspora may have passed for local native peoples, but the consequences of that violent history have been far reaching, resulting in a seemingly endless battle to recover and reinstate traditional uses for ancestral lands.

This was the topic of discussion at an event put on by the Community Food Council for Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands on Thursday evening as a part of the two-day Northern California regional meeting of the California Food Policy Council, where a panel of local tribal members and activists spoke about issues pertaining to native food sovereignty. 

You can read the full story in the The Del Norte Triplicate.

Setting the Table for a Better Food Policy

November 28, 2014 Roots of Change

Consider the turkey sandwich. There are worse places to start if you’d like to make a difference.

From its factory-farmed protein to its industrially processed soybean-oil mayo, let’s face it: You can do better. Not to mention that leftover chemical-laced boxed stuffing now being nuked as a side dish. Or that sugary soda that’s washing it down.

For most Americans, whether something healthier, more socially responsible or even tastier could be on the menu typically isn’t subject to much thought. The market is what it is, thanks to economics and this country’s food policy, or dearth of one.

Read the whole article in the Sacramento Bee.