This issue of QuickNotes provides a guide to how planning influences the development of healthy and sustainable local and regional food systems. A 2007 JAPA article discusses the lack of a food system in most planning practices, research, and educational institutions. It sets out reasons and ideas for planning participation in strengthening communities and the food system. This report from the Planning and Community Research Center APA examines how local governments address food access and system issues through comprehensive sustainability planning by identifying common themes and innovative features for implementing planning strategies to achieve planning goals.
The framework for an equitable food system outlined above focuses on examples of problems, policies, and practices found in California. Many references to standards and issues in other regions can help deepen our understanding of historical and current barriers to justice in our food system.
The pandemic has highlighted the paralyzing weaknesses of the industrial food system and the essential role played by regional food systems in the Community’s food security. The extent of these shortcomings must be addressed with comprehensive solutions that meet the interconnected needs of our food system. These solutions must focus on justice to reverse historical patterns of discrimination.
Addressing racial, economic, and other structural inequalities in the food system is essential to ensure that everyone can participate, thrive, and reach their full potential. A fairer food system will create a new paradigm that involves the most vulnerable, those living in low-income communities and communities of color, to participate, thrive and benefit. It will be a farm-to-farm process to a disposal system, guaranteeing economic opportunities, high-quality jobs with a living wage and safe working conditions, and access to healthy, affordable, and adequate food with environmental sustainability.
Last week, Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) made an exciting announcement about a new bill he has just introduced: the AB 125 (Equitable Economic Recovery Act, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms, and Worker Protection Bond Act). The Central California Environmental Justice Network is a member of a diverse coalition of co-sponsors of the law.
The law aims to provide healthy food to the most vulnerable Californians and make our farms climate-resilient in the face of droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather. For the first time, the law allows voters to invest in building the infrastructure needed to provide food safety, reliability, healthy and sustainable Californians.
The governor’s proposal complements a request for a $780 million food and agriculture budget from a bipartisan group of 16 lawmakers. These funds would finance long-overdue infrastructure projects for the food system to reduce the distance between farms and tables, protect farmworkers, help farmers transition to organic farming and climate-resilient practices, create and restore jobs and provide healthy, local food to many people.
The bond, backed by a diverse coalition of groups, including NRDC, would invest $3 billion over five years to accelerate California’s economic recovery, help the state overcome food inequalities, protect workers, shift to more organic and climate-resilient farming, create and restore jobs, and enhance food security through a variety of interventions. The type of programs in the bond is designed to ensure that significant resources (40%) are allocated to projects in low-income communities and to support farmers and livestock breeders, thereby reducing the amount of money left over to finance agricultural programs. Suppose bill 125, the bond proposal with bipartisan support in the legislature and approval by more than 160 groups, is approved by the legislature and governors. In that case, it will go to voters later this year.
He increased bread and fish and shared meals with people across class and politics. In today’s churches, congregations across the state have community gardens, grocery shelves, and community meals.
To help farmers affected by the current crisis, the American Farmland Trust has launched a new Farmer Relief Fund to help farmers. The Community Alliance of Family Farmers (CAFF) Emergency Fund supports family farmers who are the anchors of our local food system to ensure they survive this crisis. The California Department of Food and Agriculture Root Change Fund is funding an initiative to expand SNAP participation to three farmer markets, offering recipients food aid and other market brands for fresh produce.
We must ensure that solutions reach the most vulnerable in our communities, from the farm to the fork of COVID 19 – pandemic. Congress must ensure that every dollar goes to California’s small and medium-sized farmers. The distribution of resources to them and our food system is simple, fair, and equitable.
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