October: Docks to Delta LIVE a Hit, Save the Date: Celebrating the Hands that Feed US + More

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 In this Newsletter  

Docks to Delta, LIVE - a HIT!

Save the Date! Celebrating the Hands that Feed Us

Former CIRS ED, David Lighthall Passes

Rural California Blog

Month of Community Power

3 Great Conferences

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!



Docks to Delta, LIVE - a Hit!


by Cal Ag Roots Project Director Ildi Carlisle-Cummins

Docks to Delta, Live-- the public launch event for our Cal Ag Roots Project-- was a hit! On September 26, 2015, 90 event guests boarded the Capitol Corridor Amtrak to listen to Cal Ag Roots' first three stories about key moments in California agriculture while traveling through a landscape relevant to the stories. As the conversation between event attendees heated up on the return train home, we could sense that we'd made a real impact. Several people told us that this type of event and conversation is exactly what the California food movement needs and one longtime leader even said, "I think this will be remembered as a seminal moment in this movement—either you were on the train or you weren't." Cal Ag Roots has launched!

This fall and winter we will take the live stories recorded on the train and turn them into podcasts that will be accessible online by a much wider audience—including the 2 million people that ride the Capitol Corridor train each year. (A partnership with Amtrak means that it will be promoted to all their passengers. See their blog post on the trip here.) We also have offers to tell the stories live again on two UC campuses—Davis and Merced—and other plans to continue the dialogue about how these stories impact current food and farming policy work. In 2016, we'll continue to work with people from across California, as well as our dedicated Advisory Council to choose the second set of stories to bring to the food movement's attention. 

The stories that were told live last weekend will be available via the Cal Ag Roots Story Hub as podcasts this winter. Please contact us to be added to the Cal Ag Roots mailing list, and reach out to Project Director Ildi Carlisle-Cummins with any future story ideas and questions.

Celebrating the Hands that Feed Us - Save the Date!

Brower Center Invite 11 18 15

Join Joann Lo, Eric Schlosser, Anna Lappé, Alice Waters, CIRS staff, plus more special guests for the launch of the 'Voices of the Food Chain' and we'll have a conversation about the workers at the heart of our food system.

California Institute for Rural Studies is cosponsoring this event along with Berkeley Food InstituteCorporate Accountability InternationalFood Chain Workers AllianceReal Food Media ProjectRoots of Change and Civil Eats. Join us!

Former CIRS Executive Director David Lighthall Passes, "Known for Curiosity, Gentle Spirit"


We are sad to share the passing of former California Institute for Rural Studies Executive Director, David Lighthall last month. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. We know that you join us in appreciating the work he led, investigating the health impacts of air quality. Below is an article published earlier this month in the Fresno Bee, written by Mark Grossi.

“Scientist David Lighthall investigated damaging effects of wood smoke on humans and detailed health risks among farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley. He was known among researchers, air quality leaders and the medical community for his curiosity and gentle spirit. Mr. Lighthall, 61, died (September 21st) of cancer.

As a staff scientist for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, he helped develop an online system that now provides hourly pollution readings for more than 1,000 schools in the region. 

Mr. Lighthall was known in medical research circles, especially for a study he led on farmworker health issues while he was executive director of the California Institute for Rural Studies.” Read more

Rural California Report Blog Round-Up

The Failed Promise of California’s Farm Labor Relations Law by Don Villarejo and Gal Wadsworth, Community, Farmers Split on Pesticide Regulation and Dangerous Drift: Students, Strawberries and Harmful Fumigants Collide in California’s Agricultural Belts by Lily Dayton, A San Joaquin Valley Irrigation Drainage Settlement is Reached, But Questions Remain by Michael Doyle, as well as our feature, below, Carbon Sequestration in Grazing Land Ecosystems by Maria Silveira, Ed Hanlon, Mariana Azenha, and Hiran M. da Silva. All the articles are featured on our website and are available as free downloadable files.

Carbon Sequestration in Grazing Land Ecosystems

by Maria Silveira, Ed Hanlon, Mariana Azenha, and Hiran M. da Silva, from theUniversity of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

This publication provides basic information about the important role of native and improved pastures (referred to as grazing land) in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Because of the relatively high sequestration rates and extensive area, grazing land represents an important component of terrestrial carbon dioxide (CO2) offset and is a significant sink for long-term carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation. This publication contains information for stakeholders, students, scientists, and environmental agencies interested in enhancing ecosystems services provided by grazing lands.

Global Carbon Cycle

The global carbon cycle consists of complex processes that control the movement of carbon between the atmosphere, land, and oceans. Although natural processes dominate the carbon cycle, human-induced activities can also alter these carbon transfers. In the atmosphere, carbon is mainly present as carbon dioxide (CO2). Large amounts of carbon are also present in the soil, primarily as soil organic matter. Soil organic matter plays a key role in determining soil quality and its potential to produce food, fiber, and fuel. During the past two decades, the global carbon cycle has received significant attention because of its role in global climate change. Continue Reading

October is Month of Community Power: Reclaim the Commons

The United States Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), an alliance of 37 organizations working for the right to food for all communities, is coordinating the Month of Community Power to Reclaim the Commons this month, which spotlights local communities’ resistance to the privatization of food, water, land, oceans, and the greater Commons. An estimated 20 actions are expected to take place across the United States, led by communities fighting for the rights to produce their own food and for the rights of food producers. The USFSA’s member organizations and allies believe that land and water are common resources that should benefit the people, especially to provide food for those most in need -- not exploited for private profit or corporate gain.

Throughout the month of October, groups across the country are taking action to fight for their communities’ rights to access common resources and to participate directly in making the decisions about who controls our land, water, and food. The goal of the Month of Community Power is to amplify the voices of diverse community-based organizations and leaders from across the nation, working to put a stop to further resource grabs and privatization schemes. A full list of actions can be found at the US Food Sovereignty Alliance website.

Three Great Conferences Coming Up


Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference, Oakland, October 16-18

'Parched: Dry Times in the Golden State,' California Studies Conference, San Francisco, October 24

Latino Farmer Conference, Fresno, November 3


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


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