SACRAMENTO — A broad coalition of agriculture, labor, food and environment advocates have united in support of Assembly Bill 125, the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act.
AB 125 is a groundbreaking proposal to give voters the chance to approve a $3 billion effort to accelerate California’s economic recovery and build a healthier, more equitable and resilient food and farm system. Bond investments would improve the state’s wildfire and climate resilience, protect essential farmworkers, make sure all Californians have access to healthy food, invest in regional food processing and market infrastructure, and promote sustainable agricultural practices that reduce pollution and climate-proof our food supply. AB 125 was introduced by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Co-Chair of the Latino Caucus.
“This bill will provide the resources that farmers and ranchers need to cut climate pollution and maintain a viable and sustainable agriculture in California,” said Jeanne Merrill, Policy Director with CalCAN, one of the bill’s sponsors. “It’s time to invest in our food and farming infrastructure of the future.”
In virtual meetings with over 20 legislative offices this week, nearly 100 advocates shared the importance of passage of the bill. As the nation’s leading food-producing state, investments in California not only ensure our long-term food security, but uniquely positions the state to lead in addressing a wide range of food, agriculture and climate challenges as the United States rebounds from the pandemic.
Nayamin Martinez, Executive Director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network, an AB 125 sponsor, said “we support AB 125 because it includes multiple funding mechanisms to address some of the many problems that farmworkers and other essential workers have faced over the years, and that were significantly exacerbated by the pandemic.”
“We believe the best solutions solve multiple problems. AB 125 is solving the inter-related problems of the climate crisis, food insecurity, health risks among frontline workers, and lack of infrastructure for local and regional food systems. We can no longer be passive, nor can we work in siloes,” said Agricultural Institute of Marin CEO Andy Naja-Riese, another AB 125 sponsor. “We have a social responsibility to build food systems that put small-to-mid-sized farmers and farmworkers at the heart of these solutions while creating access to healthy, culturally-relevant, and traditional foods in a way that empowers communities of color and tribes.”
AB 125 Coauthors:
Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles).
AB 125 sponsors:
Agricultural Institute of Marin, American Farmland Trust (AFT), California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), Californians for Pesticide Reform, Carbon Cycle Institute, Center for Food Safety, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), Intertribal Agriculture Council, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Pesticide Action Network, Roots of Change, Sustainable Agriculture Education, and UFCW Western States Council.
The California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) is a coalition of the state’s leading sustainable agriculture and farmer allies. Since 2009, CalCAN has cultivated farmer leadership to face the challenges of climate change and to serve as the sustainable agriculture voice on climate change policy in California.
For more information on CalCAN: www.calclimateag.org
–California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)
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