March News from California Institute for Rural Studies

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 MARCH News 



In this Newsletter

Fourth and final brief released today on California's water infrastructure 

Dr. Seth Holmes book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies sent to all U.S. lawmakers with policy paper by CIRS

Gail on panel discussion after new UC Davis staging of Grapes of Wrath

CUESA seeks new Executive Director

Come see us at the California Small Farm Conference!


  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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California Institute for Rural Studies  Releases Four Briefs on California's Water Infrastructure

Over the last month we have published a series of four briefs on California’s water infrastructure by CIRS and our partners. The first explained California’s surface water infrastructure. The second focused on ground water managementThe third brief addressed water quality and this fourth and final brief summarizes significant proposals to address California’s water needs. The goal of these short papers is to provide a road map to understanding the conversation around California water issues.

All briefs are featured on our website in the 

Rural California Report Blog , and are available there as free downloadable files.



California has been at the vanguard of environmental law and policy for over a century. The state adapts and expands these policies and laws as new information and technologies become available, and as previously unknown (or nonexistent) environmental issues emerged. The earliest water projects favored heavy-duty infrastructure like dams and canals to capture, control, and transport water from the wetter areas of the state to more populous and agricultural areas. California’s extensive surface water storage and delivery infrastructure originated with studies conducted in the 1870s, and with construction of dams and canals that began a few decades later. Subsequent water projects and public investments in water tended to build upon and improve existing infrastructure; a trend which continues until today. Public water projects are complicated by a legacy of convoluted private water rights that started during the Gold Rush era and further developed in courtroom battles between private landowners. Continue reading



Lawmakers Receive Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies with Policy Paper by CIRS

Two northwestern Washington State artists, Alfred Currier & Anne Schreivogl, moved by Author Dr. Seth Holmes new book, have sent a copy of the book with an Executive Summary and Policy Implications paper, authored by CIRS, to every member of the US Senate & Congress, the President, Vice President and the First Lady. They will be arriving mid-March, timed to highlight the release of the new film, 'Cesar Chavez,' the biography of the civil rights activist and labor leader. Dr. Holmes is assistant professor of public health and medical anthropology at UC Berkeley.

"This is a very important and illuminating book about the current status of iimigrant farm workers in the US. As our lawmakers consider immigration reform we hope they take into consideration the information revealed in Dr. Holmes's book." Gail Wadsworth, Executive Director, California Institute for Rural Studies.

Reviews of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies already point out its policy importance. The CIRS policy paper accompanying the book offers a set of actions for policy makers that can improve conditions for farm laborers who work in our fields. Read the paper here

Seth Holmes will also be reading from & discussing his book at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, on Wednesday, March 19, at 6:30pm, co-sponsored by Food First. More information


UC Davis Stages New Production of

Grapes of WrathGail to be on Panel Discussion

After the Thursday, March 13 performance, there will be a 'talk back' and Gail says, "I am looking forward to seeing this production and excited to be invited to give a modern perspective of farmworker conditions."

This staging of The Grapes of Wrath, the story of tenant farmers fleeing the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression in pursuit of jobs, dignity and a future, is inspired by this 75th anniversary year since the publication of John Steinbeck’s epic novel.

Granada Artist-in-Residence Miles Anderson directs with a mixture of original music and traditional American folk songs, and sets and lighting by internationally renowned designer Thomas J. Munn. Tickets and information

CUESA Seeks New Executive Director

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) has a 20-year history of connecting farmers with urban consumers, educating the public about how their food is produced and how to prepare it, and raising awareness about sustainable alternatives to the industrial food system. They are seeking a new leader to manage the organization and shepherd it into the next stage of development. See the full description here

CIRS at the California Small Farm Conference, March 9-11

We will have an exhibition booth at this year's conference, so come by and say hi if you're there. Stop by and (re) aquaint yourself with our website, all the resources it has to offer and introduce yourself to Sarah, our new Outreach and Events Coordinator!


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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