May News from California Institute for Rural Studies

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 May News 



In this Newsletter

We Continue to Focus on Serious Drought in Weekly Blog

Extensive Health Survey Begins in the Eastern Coachella Valley 

Third Year of Surveys Begins this Month in the California Heat Illness Prevention Study (CHIPS)

Heat Stress Training for Supervisors

Assembly Bill 1961 to Require Counties to Develop a Sustainable Farmland Strategy

10th Annual "Pick & Gather Festival"

Groundwater Management Plan Workshops Around State this Month

Community Food & Justice Coalition Appeal


  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 StudiesContinues to Focus on Serious Drought in Weekly Blog

In the last month on our blog, we brought you "Water is the Magic Word as Californian's Lobby Congress for Aid" by Michael Doyle, "The Extremely Endangered San Joaquin River" by Annie Beaman, as well as "A Personal Story from the Drought," which is an audio clip and then "Governor's Second Drought Declaration Strikes a Delicate Balance," by Adam Kotin.

All articles are featured on our website in the

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

The Extremely Endangered San Joaquin River

By Annie Beaman

Last week, a prominent environmental group released its annual report identifying the top ten “endangered” streams and rivers nationwide—waterways that are at a crossroads politically, where key upcoming decisions will have major impacts for better or worse. California’s San Joaquin River, the second longest river in the state, is #1 on the list due to the historical and ongoing impacts of state water infrastructure, and major proposals to expand this infrastructure in the future. Flowing 330 miles, the River begins in the Sierra Nevada mountains and meanders through the San Joaquin Valley toward the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is part of the largest estuary on the west coast. Continue reading

Extensive Health Survey Begins in the Eastern Coachella Valley as part of 10 year, $1 Billion Initiative "Building Healthy Communities"

California Institute for Rural Studies and Loma Linda University launched an extensive regional survey in April in the Eastern Coachella Valley. .Working with local partners Pueblo Unido CDCCalifornia Rural Legal Assistance and Inland Congregations United for Change, CIRS and LLU will be gathering information on environmental health and housing as part of the the Eastern Coachella Valley Building Healthy Communities Environmental Justice Data Project. This effort is part of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative; a 10-year place-based initiative in 14 communities across the state that engages residents, nonprofit and public agencies to collaboratively take action to improve the health of their community and ensure that zip code does not determine an individual’s health or life expectancy.

Thanks to the Desert Sun for this great article.


Third Year of Research in the California Heat Illness Prevention Study (CHIPS)

California has the largest and most diverse agricultural production in the USA. Most farmers and labor contractors now provide water, shade, bathrooms and Heat Related Illness (HRI) training for their workers, but a significant number of illnesses due to heat still happen each year. 

The goal of the California Heat Illness Prevention Study (CHIPS) is to understand the physiological responses to environmental heat and physical work in inland valley field workers, and the socio-cultural influences that affect the workers’ behavior and therefore their risk of suffering HRI. Ultimately we want to use the study information to create improved HRI prevention strategies for both the employers and employees on farms. Field work started in the summer of 2012 and will continue in the summers 2014-2016. We will also be interviewing farmers in Kern and Stanislaus Counties, moving on to Tulare and Fresno Counties. If you are a farmer in one of those counties and are interested in being interviewed, please contact us

Heat Stress Training for Supervisors

The Yolo County Farm Bureau will be holding a training, in both English and Spanish, for agricultural supervisors on May 15th in Woodland. More Information

Assembly Bill 1961 to Require Counties to Develop a Sustainable Farmland Strategy

Over the past 30 years, an average of approximately 30,000 acres a year of California agricultural land was permanently converted to non agricultural uses. “The Sustainable Farmland Strategy Act acknowledges that our agricultural land in California is a finite resource that is critical for our economy and our food security,” said Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman. “This bill highlights the need to discuss at the local level how we can maintain our agricultural land for generations to come.” AB 1961 passed through its first two committee hearings: Assembly Local Government Committee on April 2, 2014. Vote: 5-2 in favor. Assembly Agriculture Committee on April 9, 2014. Vote: 5-1 in favor.

Next the bill will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Read here the fact sheet, full text of the bill, and a sample letter of support. 

10th Annual "Pick & Gather Festival"

The Pick & Gather at Riverdance Farms and Merced River Fair in Livingston, California is in their tenth year  at Riverdance Farms, which began as part of a fifteen-year tradition of Heartland events in the San Joaquin Valley. We'll be there, come see us!

“Our mission is to connect the community to local foods and farmers. The farm and nature connection will also be celebrated.” This year’s event dates are May 31st and June 1st, 2014. Both days have fruit-picking, live entertainment, food and the river, but the “main” day is Saturday May 31st, which is the day of the Merced River Fair. More information here.

Groundwater Management Plan Workshops Around State this Month

All across the state, communities are getting together to talk about managing their groundwater, and not just letting groundwater happen. The Sonoma County Water Agency has a series of public meetings scheduled this month, and the Groundwater Resources Association of California has a symposium coming up in early June in Sacramento.

Community Food & Justice Coalition Appeal

CFJC has launched a new appeal, "Stand and Be Heard," and we urge you all to read their letter, and consider being a monthly donor. They’ve also announced plans for another Food Justice and Leadership Conference in 2015, co-hosted by Food First. CIRS will be partnering with them on the Conference as well.


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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