June News

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In this Newsletter

Weekly Blog Round Up

CIRS Joins the Food Chain Workers Alliance

"Anyone Believe in the Market Anymore?" by Dave Runsten

"Labour in the Food System" Panel

EPA Taking Comments Through August 18 on Long-Awaited Revisions to Agricultural Worker Protection Standards

Central Coast Farmworker Appreciation Day Event


  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 Weekly Blog Round Up

In the last month on our blog, we brought you "Scientists Forecast Economic Impacts of the Drought on Central Valley Agriculture," a report by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, “How Wealth Drives Health — and What We Can Do About It” by Daniel Weintraub, “June Elections Are Around the Corner  by Annie Beaman, and then “Anti-Drought Bill the Talk of the California Delegation” by Michael Doyle. 
 All articles are featured on our website in the Rural California Report Blog, and are available there as free downloadable files.


Scientists Forecast Economic Impacts of the Drought on Central Valley Agriculture

 California’s drought will deal a severe blow to Central Valley irrigated agriculture and farm communities this year, and could cost the industry $1.7 billion and cause more than 14,500 workers to lose their jobs, according to preliminary results of a new study by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.

Researchers estimated that Central Valley irrigators would receive only two-thirds of their normal river water deliveries this year because of the drought.

The preliminary analysis represents the first socio-economic forecast of this year’s drought, said lead author Richard Howitt, a UC Davis professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics.

“We wanted to provide a foundation for state agricultural and water policymakers to understand the impacts of the drought on farmers and farm communities,” Howitt said. Continue reading



CIRS Joins the Food Chain Workers Alliance

California Institute for Rural Studies is proud to announce that we have become a member of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which is a national organization, and based in Los Angeles. Formed in 2009 to unite organizations that serve members who plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, the coalition has been on the forefront of the effort to raise the minimum wage all across the US.

Gail says, "The organizations in the Food Chain Workers Alliance work together to build a more sustainable food system that respects workers’ rights, based on the principles of social, environmental and racial justice, in which everyone has access to healthy and affordable food. This mission is so well aligned with the mission of CIRS we felt like this would be a natural coalition.  We are excited to support the work of our partners and look forward to working together to improve conditions for workers all along the food chain." 


"Anyone Believe in the Market Anymore? Immigration Reform & Bracero Program Redux" 

Dave Runsten, CIRS Board Member and Policy Director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) wrote this article, "Anyone Believe in the Market Anymore? Immigration & Bracero Program Redux" as a guest blog for the website FarmsReach. Along with a lot of other good resources, FarmsReach has been running a mutli-part series on Labor & Worker Safety. Dave probably needs no introduction for most of you, he has decades of experience on these issues, and so brings considerable depth to the conversation.


"Labour in the Food System" Panel & Networking Event in San Francisco

The Consulate General of the Netherlands is hosting this free and open to the public event on Thursday, June 19th, from 6-9pm, where Gail will be one of the panelists. Also on the panel are James Cochran, of Swanton Berry Farm, Margaret Reeves, of Equitable Food Initiative and Pesticide Action Network, and Paul Ramirez, Agriculture Coordinator and Investigator, of the US Department of Labor. 

Join us for this interactive panel with individuals who work hard every day in creating a just and equitable food system for all, including those who literally feed us three times a day. We'll explore how different players along the vertical food chain (farmers, suppliers, government) are rethinking what makes our food truly sustainable. More information & RSVP here


EPA Taking Comments Through August 18 on Long-Awaited Revisions to Agricultural Worker Protection Standards

The EPA has extended the public comment period, and from the Summary, “EPA is proposing updates and revisions to the existing worker protection regulation for pesticides. The proposed changes are in response to extensive stakeholder review of the regulation and its implementation since 1992, and reflect current research on how to mitigate occupational pesticide exposure to agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. EPA is proposing to strengthen the protections provided to agricultural workers and handlers under the worker protection standard by improving elements of the existing regulation, such as training, notification, communication materials, use of personal protective equipment, and decontamination supplies. EPA expects the revisions, once final, to prevent unreasonable adverse effects from exposure to pesticides among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers; vulnerable groups, such as minority and low-income populations, child farmworkers, and farmworker families; and the general public. EPA recognizes the importance and independence of family farms and is proposing to expand the immediate family exemption to the WPS.”

Click here to read the full text of the proposed rule and make your comments.


Central Coast Farmworker Appreciation Day Event

Alliance for Climate Education hosted a series of Youth Action Labs for Central Coast and Bay Area high schools students to connect the dots between food, climate change, and health called “Follow the Food.” The Central Coast students from Salinas, Watsonville, and Gonzalez, CA wanted to “create a day where we not only express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health.”

There will be live music, free food, healthy cooking demonstrations, education and speakers from community based organizations. CIRS will be there, and we urge you to help spread the word about this great, student-led event.

The event will be held on Sunday, June 15th 2014, (Father's Day) at Closter Park in Salinas, CA from 11-3pm  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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