August: "From Ketchup to California Cuisine: How a Machine Prompted Today's Food Movement" + More

This email contains graphics, so if you don't see them, view it in your browser.





 In this Newsletter 

"From Ketchup to California Cuisine: How the Mechanical Tomato Harvester Prompted Today's Food Movement"

Next Merced County Local Food Promotion Meeting August 18

Documenting Health Disparities in the Eastern Coachella Valley

Open Comment Period on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Guidelines Extended thru August 14

Weekly Blog Round-Up 

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. 

  Keep in touch!



"From Ketchup to California Cuisine: How the Mechanical Tomato Harvester Prompted Today's Food Movement"

The first in our Cal Ag Roots series of articles on pivotal moments in California Agricultural history, written by Project Director, Ildi Carlisle-Cummins. This was first published on Civil Eats. Photos by award-winning photographer and journalist, Richard Steven Street.

Tomatoes Mechanical 1986 LoRes 

When you think of California cuisine, do you imagine baby lettuces doused in olive oil, and carefully arranged on white plates? 

If you’ve ever driven down the Highway 99 corridor, which cuts through California’s Central Valley, you might have a different sense of the state’s contributions to global food culture. Driving 99 any hour of the day or night, from July through September, you’ll likely have to swerve around trucks mounded impossibly high with tomatoes. You’ll pass acres and acres of dense, low tomato plants being harvested by machines that spit them out into trailers bound for a string of processing facilities that dot the valley.

This year promises to be a record for processing tomatoes, with a projected 14.3 million tons harvested. California’s Central Valley will, yet again, play a critical role in ensuring that one of America’s favorite condiments—ketchup—remains in plentiful supply. On the surface, this cheap condiment might not seem to have anything to do with California cuisine. But, as it turns out, there’s an incredible tale that ties the two together in surprising ways... Continue Reading

For more information on Cal Ag Roots, please contact

Next Merced County Local Food Promotion Meeting, August 18th, 4:30pm - Join Us!

This is the last public meeting for the Merced County Local Food Promotion Project in this cycle, so please join us! Meeting will be Monday, August 18th, 4:30-8pm, at the Farm Bureau Office, 646 South State Highway 59, Merced. Dinner from 4:30-5pm, and then the meeting is from 5-8pm.

We will bring together leaders who have implemented marketing, identity/branding or food hub-type projects in local counties for a listening session with local farmers.  Representatives from Stanislaus Grown, Food Commons Fresno, AgLink, and more will be there. A local seasonal dinner will be available for a $10 donation. Please contact Kara Lang with questions & RSVPs: or 559-739-8985 

 "Documenting Health Disparities in the Eastern Coachella Valley"

  BHC ECV Kids

Thank you to Reporter Alejandra Molina for helping us spread the word, through the Press-Enterprise, about our on-going health survey work in the Eastern Coachella Valley, a part of the Building Healthy Communities initiative. Her article is below. Photo above from the Building Healthy Communities website.

Community health workers are making progress with a survey in the Eastern Coachella Valley that aims to better understand health issues that farm workers face in the area, but they won’t say it’s been easy.

Last May, the California Institute for Rural Studies and Loma Linda University partnered with local groups like Inland Congregations United for Change to survey residents in Coachella, Oasis, Thermal, Mecca and North Shore.

They are more than half way done, but surveyors have found it challenging to get some residents to open their doors to participate. Read More

Open Comment Period on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Guidelines Extended thru August 14

On June 16, 2015,California Air Resources Board (CARB)staff released a discussion draft of its Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Funding Guidelines for Agencies that Administer California Climate Investments to seek public comment prior to Board consideration in late July. A broad range of stakeholders, including CIRS, requested CARB extend the public process to allow more time forreview, development of coalition responses, and input to influence the revised proposal to be presented to the Board. In response, CARB is postponing adoption of the final guidelines until theirSeptember 24-25, 2015 board meeting (in Diamond Bar).This change will allow them to continue accepting public comment  on the earlier draft through August 14.  They will also leave the electronic comment log open until late September to be part of the public record.  CARB staff have posted a short supplement to the draft Funding Guidelines that describes some of the changes they are making in response to the public comments received thus far. They have also announced open workshopson the guidelines and investment plan around the state, for the first two weeks of August.

Rural California Report Blog Round-Up 

California Invests in Farmland Conservation to Halt Sprawl, Climate Change by Jeanne MerrillField and Orchard Crops Declining Amid Drought by Sharon Licht, California’s  Groundwater Use Expected to Rise as Drought Continues by Philip Martin, as well as our feature, below, Podcast: Restoring an Invisible Lifeline: Soil by CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems

All the articles are featured on our website and are available as free downloadable files.
Podcast: Restoring an Invisible Lifeline: Soil
SoilImagebyCGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems

The latest episode of the Thrive podcast takes a close look at the ground beneath our feet. Soil, on which terrestrial life depends, is often ignored precisely because it is everywhere and yet invisible. Healthy soils contribute so much to human well-being, from nutritious food to clean water, and yet the soils of more than a fifth of all cropland, pasture, forest and woodland are degraded to some extent. Degraded soils, apart from being unable to meet the needs of the people who depend on them, also emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses, contributing to climate change.

How, then, can we best restore degraded soils? Sessions at Global Soil Week 2015 in Berlin, co-organized by the Water, Land and Ecosystems research program of CGIAR, provided a platform for people to share different approaches, each of which has something to offer. Read & Listen to More


Thank you for your continued support!

Gail Wadsworth &Michael Courville

 Co-Executive Directors,

California Institute for Rural Studies

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


Not interested any more?


This is the last meeting in this cycle, so please join us!