November: Spotlight on Cal Ag Roots, International Food Workers Week + More

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 In this Newsletter  

Spotlight on Cal Ag Roots

Save the Date: International Food Workers Week

Rural California Blog

Support 'Rhythms of the Land'

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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Spotlight on Cal Ag Roots

 Docs to Delta map

Drawing above from the map given to all guests on the Docks to Delta train event, drawn by Katie Bachler.

Thanks to Cal Humanities for their interview with Cal Ag Roots Project Director Ildi Carlisle-Cummins for their blog.

Cal Humanities: Tell us a little about yourself and the organization.

Ildi: I direct the Cal Ag Roots Project at the California Institute for Rural Studies. Cal Ag Roots puts historical roots under current California food and farming change movements by telling the story of California agricultural development in innovative, useful and relevant ways. There is deep knowledge about the structures, driving forces and key moments that have shaped California’s food system among recognized “experts” and those who have participated in the creation of CA farming, but this knowledge doesn’t always inform food movement work. Cal Ag Roots shares stories from this wide range of people, opening new lines of communication among them. Continue Reading

Save the Date: International Food Workers Week, November 22-28


International Food Workers Week (IFWW) is held annually around Thanksgiving to engage the public about the importance of food workers and to move people to take action in support of the workers. Events or actions around the U.S. are organized by the Food Chain Workers Alliance (of which CIRS is a member), member groups, and allies.

This year, before and during IFWW, Food Chain Workers Alliance will release five StoryCorps conversations that were recorded at the spring 2015 retreat. These are a part of the new joint project with Real Food Media, Voices of the Food Chain. FCWA will also release a new video “Voices of the Food Chain” featuring workers across the food chain.

You can participate in on-line or in person actions, to see a list of actions go here. You can also organize your own action or event, fill out this form to let us know what you're doing. 

Rural California Report Blog Round-Up

From the Heart of the Dought by Sharon Licht, Senators Drill into California Water Bill by Michael Doyle, California’s Drought Impacts Agriculture, Employment by Philip Martin as well as our feature, below, ‘Census of the Invisible’ Documents Plight of Working Poor in Coastal California by Lily Dayton. All the articles are featured on our website and are available as free downloadable files. 

'Census of the Invisible' Documents Plight of the Working Poor in Coastal California

by Lily Dayton

Some days, Celia Díaz doesn’t want to get out of bed. But, since she’s the major wage earner in her household, she doesn’t have much choice. Six days a week, she drags herself to the Santa Cruz restaurant where she works 10- and 12-hour days as head prep cook. She rarely gets a break and often goes the entire shift without sitting down. She’s developed arthritis in her fingers.

“There are times I want to quit,” she says in Spanish, speaking while she eats tortillas and frijoles for breakfast in the dim light of her tiny kitchen. “But I can’t because many jobs pay less for more work.”

Díaz, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, has to work more than 60 hours a week in order to make ends meet on her $11.50-an-hour wages. Still, her paycheck—which never includes overtime pay (she’s paid in cash for anything above 40 hours)—doesn’t come close to covering the cost of living in this coastal California town. So she, her husband and their two small children share a cramped two-bedroom apartment with four other adults. Their living room is dominated by a metal-framed bunk bed. The other adults in the house earn less money per hour than Díaz. Continue Reading 

Support the "Rhythms of the Land" Fundraising Campaign


Rhythms of the Land is a documentary feature film project by anthropologist/filmmaker Gail P. Myers, Ph.D. Dr. Myers also runs the non-profit Farms to Grow, and the Freedom Farmers Market in Oakland. The Freedom Farmers Market brings traditional legacy foods from local & regional Black farmers and other under-represented farmers, as well as nutritional information, to Bay Area locations devoid of supermarkets.

About the film: During the summer of 2012, Dr. Myers toured 10 southern states interviewing over 30 African American farmers, sharecroppers, and gardeners and one 6th generation coil basket weaver. The film will spotlight an array of farmers - rice growers, hog ranchers, dairy ranchers, barefoot farmers, sharecroppers, basket-weavers, shrimp farmers, vegetable farmers, and gardeners, who have struggled without either reward or recognition, and have been excluded out of dominant narratives of American agriculture. Their intense love of the land and dedication to community enabled them to survive against overwhelming odds.

There are only 9 more days left in their fundraising campaign, so please donate what you can to make this very important film happen. 


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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