CIRS Blog about Rural California

Lisa Kresge

Lisa Kresge

Lisa Kresge is the Operations Manager and Research Analyst at the California Institute for Rural Studies. For the past five years, she has conducted applied research and evaluation projects in collaboration with rural community organizations throughout California. Lisa holds a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from The College of Idaho. In addition to her work at CIRS, Lisa serves as the Co-Director for One Starfish, a school uniform and sewing cooperative project, located in San Jorge, Nicaragua. Prior to joining CIRS, Lisa was involved with biodiesel advocacy as a community organizer and founding board member for Northwest Biodiesel Network.

The Salinas Valley, in Monterey County, with dark, rich soils highlighted by contrasting rows of greens invokes a picture perfect image of California agriculture. It has been nicknamed "the salad bowl of the United States," and grows an abundance of fresh greens and fruit. Despite this seeming abundance, the Salinas Valley is not a stranger to poverty and hunger. 

Monterey County is the third highest grossing agricultural crop producing county in the US, with sales of more than $4 billion in 2010. Despite this agricultural bounty, Monterey County has the highest rate of adults in food insecure households out of all California counties, with a ranking of 58th in the state. There are approximately 51,000 individuals, or 49% of adults, in this county with incomes lower than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level who are food insecure.

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