Global Agriculture

California Takes Pivotal Step Towards Resilient Food Systems: Climate-Smart Agriculture & Food System Investments Secured in CA Climate Bond

Over $1 billion in proposed investments in climate-resilient sustainable agriculture, local food system infrastructure, and farmworker well-being are included in the Climate Resilience Bond

10 July 2024, Sacramento: On Wednesday, July 3rd, the California Legislature passed California’s Climate Resilience Bond (SB 867, Allen). If approved by voters in November, the bond will catalyze a wide range of powerful climate solutions, including nature-based farming practices, and investments to improve historically underserved communities’ access to healthy food and safe drinking water. The Food and Farm Resilience Coalition applauds the legislature for the inclusion of $1 billion of our Coalition’s priority investments in climate-resilient sustainable agriculture, local food system infrastructure, and farmworker well-being.

The proposed investments related to the Coalition’s agriculture chapter priorities are five times greater than those in Proposition 68, the last successful climate bond to include food and farming investments.

This boost in food system priorities is the direct outcome of a multi-year campaign by the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition and the tireless advocacy of legislative leaders Assemblymember Lori Wilson and Speaker Robert Rivas.

“Fires, droughts, and floods continue to increase food prices and threaten the livelihoods of farmers and farmworkers,” said Brian Shobe, Policy Director at CalCAN, a co-founding member of the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition. “This November, voters can act by voting to approve the climate bond to make our food and farm system more resilient. California’s family farmers and farmworkers are worth the investment.”

Over $1 billion in proposed investments across all four of our Coalition’s priority areas were included in the Climate Resilience Bond. This includes funding for these programs:

  • State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP): Funds on-farm water conservation and energy efficiency measures.
  • The Healthy Soils Program (HSP): Supports farming practices that improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase carbon sequestration.
  • Farmland Conservation: Easements funded through the California Farmland Conservancy Program permanently protect valuable farmland from urban development.
  • Farm equipment-sharing programs: Offers small farmers access to expensive farm equipment for healthy soils practices.
  • Local Food Infrastructure: Supports urban agriculture, farmers’ markets, mobile markets, and tribal food production which supports local food systems and improves access to fresh, healthy foods.
  • Farmworker Safety and Well-being: Funds energy-efficient retrofits for housing and safe, affordable drinking water infrastructure for farmworkers and their communities

“The same week the Climate Bond was printed, extreme heat alerts hit the Central and Imperial Valleys, where many farmworkers labor in 100-degree heat. While labor laws protect them outdoors, who helps them cool down at home?” said Nayamin Martinez, Director at Central California Environmental Justice Network, a member of the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition. “Investments in energy-efficient programs for farmworkers, like the ones included in the bond, are instrumental to guarantee energy equity and resiliency for those more heavily impacted by extreme heat.”

Given California’s budget deficit and the lack of resources in the Governor’s 24-25 budget, this bond may be the only source of funding for several of these popular programs and much-needed investments.

In the coming months, the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition will actively educate voters about the critical need for this bond measure.

“With climate change exposing the fragility of our state’s agricultural supply chain, the time is now to build the infrastructure that small farmers need to provide healthy and nutritious food throughout our state,” said Arohi Sharma, a senior policy analyst with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), a co-founding member of the Food and Farm Resilience Coalition. “The local and regional food infrastructure investments proposed in SB 867 present a ripe opportunity for voters to help get food from California fields to Californians’ plates.”

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