CIRS End of Year Message

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End of Year Message

December 23, 2011

In This Letter

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  • Rural California Report





Dear Friends and Supporters,

I am so happy with the progress CIRS has made in 2011.

With the global economic crisis continuing, we have worked hard to keep the doors open at CIRS and research progressing on important issues in rural California.  We are only able to do this with your help and support.  Over the past year, our support has been growing and we hope you will help it to grow even more!

Because of individuals like you, we have been able to move forward on several important projects.  Specifically, this year we initiated projects related to heat stress illness in farm worker populations.  We are creating a unique assessment tool for farm labor communities to determine their risk of heat stress within their communities.  We are working with UC Davis on a large scale project called the California Heat Illness Prevention Study that focuses on heat stress in the farm work place.  

Our research continues to seek solutions.  

Realizing that rural populations are food insecure, we launched a feasibility study on healthy mobile vending for rural communities. Food trucks have taken off in urban communities and we see the potential for adaptation of the model in rural regions.

We're working with the California Department of Public Health to develop and test tools for on-farm worksite wellness programs.

We developed a set of training tools for encouraging healthy eating in the farm worker community, including two videos and a fotonovela.  

We continue to seek funding for projects on CSA models and groundwater recharge practices on farms as well as educational projects related to fair food and what that means. 

Because of your support, I was able to spend time writing blog entries for Civil Eats on issues of importance to all eaters.  The first was on the definition of rural and how it affects the Golden State.  The second discussed hunger among farm laborers. And the most recent was a discussion of farm worker housing. Please take some time to read these short pieces. 

Rural California Report

 Included in our new website is the Rural California Report.  This has turned out to be a wonderful resource on issues and activities in rural California that has become useful to many across the US. The goal of the RCR is to become a widely read and commented upon blog.  

We've had contributions from very notable authors, including Don Villarejo, the founder of CIRS, Jonathan London, Philip Martin and Vallerye Mosquera and David Visher from UC, Davis. We were fortunate to have Glenda Humiston from the Rural Development Agency of USDA submit an interesting analysis of California and the definition of "rural" and Edie Jessup from Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program write on the Central Valley food system.

We have a lot of other contributors working on papers right now.We hope to be able to include a regualr feature "News from the Fields" by Luis Magana in 2012.   If you want to submit an article for our blog about something going on in your rural community, please send it to me at and I will make sure it gets read. We should be able to let you know within a month of receiving it, if and when it will be posted.  If we don’t post it, please remember that all visitors to our site are invited to leave comments and links on the Rural California Report page.


You will notice that there is a live button on our website for easily donating to CIRS.  For us to continue in our mission, we need people like you supporting us.  The more you give, the more we can do to bring social justice into the discussion of sustainable agriculture.  Unrestricted funds allow us to pursue issues that may be unpopular and make sure our results reach the people who most need them.

We’ve been through a lot of changes in the past year and we're optimistic for 2012.  We are excited to be launching a new project in the East Coachella Valley with The California Endowment.  And we will continue our work on heat stress and housing equity for farm workers.  We hope to initiate some research on child labor on farms in the US and the Secure Communities Act.  But we can't do this work alone/

We see opportunity ahead of us. We want  people to hear about our vibrant and successful rural communities.  We want to continue to do research that seeks solutions to our current challenges.  With your support, we will achieve success.

Please donate today!

Thank you all,

Gail Wadsworth

Executive Director

California Institute for Rural Studies


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