June: Differential Minimum Wage: Urban vs Rural, Cal Ag Roots is Seeking Your Stories! + More

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 In this Newsletter  

Minimum Wage Differential: Urban vs Rural

Cal Ag Roots is Seeking Your Stories

Focus on CIRS Partners: Ryan Sinclair

Rural California Blog

Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee, June 25

California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) is the only California non-profit with a mission to conduct public interest research that strengthens social justice and increases the sustainability of California's rural communities. 

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Minimum Wage Differential: Urban vs Rural

NY CountiesNewsletter

by Gail Wadsworth

In 1938 the federal government passed the Fair Labor Standards Ac(FSLA). This act guarantees most workers a minimum wage and overtime pay—requiring time and a half over 40 hours in a work week. It also requires employers to keep records of payroll receipts. (Among FLSA's many provisions were those allowing child labor in agriculture. In addition, it created the wage and hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor to enforce all provisions of the law. Additionally, all other federal laws governing benefits to workers (Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc.) also excluded agricultural workers, but later were amended to include some agricultural workers. Women were also excluded from protections under the law because they were employed part-time or seasonally and were not considered part of the workforce.)

Farmworkers were excluded from minimum wage under the FLSA until 1966 at which time the federal minimum wage and record keeping were applied to farmworkers as well as all other members of the work force. Now even farmworkers paid by the piece are entitled to the minimum wage. But overtime provisions are not applicable to farmworkers and farms with a very small work force (11 or fewer) are exempt from minimum wage and all other provisions of the FSLA. The large majority of farms that hire farm labor directly have fewer than 10 employees (just 40,661 out of 566,469 farms have more than 10). In fact, 46 percent of all hired farm labor jobs are exempt from the FSLA. Continue Reading

Cal Ag Roots is Seeking Your Stories!

The colors of calag

Image is from Paul Starr's The Field Guide to California Agriculture

This summer, Cal Ag Roots is researching and beginning production of our 2016-17 story series, which is focused on the waves of immigrants who built California farming-- and we'd love your help in putting the Cal Ag Roots Story Hub to work as a true hub for writing, images, audio and other content relating to this theme. 

We're excited about this series, which will challenge the idea that California farming is a wonder of the world simply because of incredible technology and a lot of capital investment, highlighting instead the tremendous cultural, ecological and agricultural knowledge brought to farm fields by immigrants from around the world. The hope is that this series will bring attention to the overlapping layers of cultures in rural California (particularly in the Central Valley) and lift up some new heroes for the California food movement. 

There are many, many possible stories to tell related to this theme. We'll be narrowing in on a few stories to tell through our podcast series-- starting with a framing piece that describes the waves of immigrants to the Valley and a piece that tells the story of Japanese innovation in the commercial truck farming industry. But we would like to represent a wide range of other stories in the online hub, which is why we need your contributions and ideas! Though the story hub will likely feature work from across the state, we are particularly interested in stories from the San Joaquin Valley. 

If you have work that we might feature, have ideas about content we might link to or excerpt-- or know someone who does-- please email Project Director Ildi Carlisle-Cummins 

Focus on CIRS Partners: Dr. Ryan Sinclair

 Sinclair Ryan square

Dr. Ryan Sinclair is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Community Resilience at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. He is an environmental microbiologist who has projects in wastewater, stormwater, household hygiene, and food safety. His projects use a citizen science approach with community organizations in the Coachella Valley and other areas of Southern California.

Dr. Sinclair is one of our many partners on our Environmental Health
Study, with Building Healthy Communities Eastern Coachella Valley, funded by The California Endowment. Ryan’s responsibility in the community directed research project focuses on community-identified environmental contamination and potential human health effects.
The overall project contains a large set of research questions on health and environment that will provide evidence for long term policy and development of this underserved community. The research is IRB approved, has a rigorous sampling procedure and uses on-the-ground interviews conducted by trained local promotoras.
The survey questionnaire uses several national health metrics to assess topics such as asthma, depression, crowding, air and water quality topics. The home assessment managed by Dr. Sinclair tests water, air, hygiene practice and home appearance to assess physical contaminant exposure. Concentrated research questions detail exposure to pathogens from water and soil in disadvantaged communities.

Dr. Sinclair worked as a post-doc in the National Research Council
Associateship program, then research scientist at the University of Arizona Water Village. He has a PhD in water quality from Tulane University, a Masters of Public Health from Loma Linda University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University.

Rural California Report Blog Round-Up

Update On California Farmworker Overtime, Employment And Healthcare by Philip Martin, California Institute For Rural Studies To Study Impact Of California Wage Increase On Farmworkers by Mike Courville, and from Michael Doyle, Can Congress Pass A California Water Bill?and our feature, California Water Bill: Here’s Why It’s So Hard For Congress To Pass

 All the articles are featured on our website and are available as free downloadable files.

California Water Bill: Here’s Why It’s So Hard For Congress To Pass

by Michael Doyle

WASHINGTON —Five years into California’s latest drought, a major water bill compromise can seem as far away as ever.

The perennial conflict, often summed up as fish vs. farms, subtly surfaced again Tuesday at a key Senate hearing. A Western growers’ advocate pleaded for relief, a Trout Unlimited leader urged caution and lawmakers insisted on optimism while conceding the tough road ahead.

“This bill is the product of two years of work (and) 28 drafts,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., adding that her legislation “can produce real water in a manner consistent with the Endangered Species Act.” Continue Reading

Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee, June 25th, in Clovis


Join the Ecological Farming Association for the year’s most delicious Central Valley event. This fun-filled evening includes fruit tasting and sales of over 60 varieties of peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, and pluots. Enjoy live entertainment, speakers, farm tours, a Kids Craft corner, food vendors, jam making, a Japanese tea ceremony, flower arranging and stone fruit drinks, artisan treats and pies. Location will be the Mokichi Okada Association's Oasis Garden, 5790 N, Indianola Ave, Clovis, CA 93619. Adult Admission $5, Children under 12 Free. Lots more information here


Thank you for your continued support!

Gail Wadsworth

 Executive Director,

California Institute for Rural Studies

 California Institute for Rural Studies
P.O. Box 1047, Davis, CA 95617


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