SAN FRANCISCO: A strategic advisor on food system reform is urging California's state legislatures to prioritize investment in food and farming systems.
Michael R. Dimock, President of Roots of Change and an advisor to the California Food Policy Council (CAFPC), made the request following the release of a joint report by the two organizations today.
The informative report looks at concerns over food and farm policy voting by state legislatures and highlights the findings to the general public. Its aim is to educate the man on the street about how some policy decisions may be hindering the chance to improve some of California's health, environmental and economic problems.
Mr Dimock called upon elected officials to create a healthier and more resilient food system and said: "Its members want more and better bills generated, more bills supported, and more funding for under-resourced sustainable food production. Weather events, diet related disease, worker safety and opportunity, and agricultural pollution must be addressed".
"The CAFPC believes all parts of the food supply chain, from farm to table, must be engaged," he added.
Although many see food system reform as vitally important, the report noted that only 11 of the 27 bills that they analyzed got as far as the voting floor.
According to Dimock, the CAFPC report aims to stand as both a historical record of CA legislators' food system votes in 2013 and a tool for local food and agriculture reformers in their advocacy efforts.
The Roots of Change program, from the Public Health Institute, spurred the report's development by bringing together many different stakeholders looking to drive food system reform forward in a positive manor for Californians.
Five of CAFPC's highest priority bills were signed by the Governor in the first year of tracking. These included the following
Others, such as CAFPC steering committee member, Brenda Ruiz think that other policies will need to be importantly examined in the future.
Ruiz, a chef, parent and a Sacramento food activist, said that given the importance of food and farming sectors to the health of California's economy and communities, there were many more policies of broader scope and impact that would require the legislature's attention in the new year.
" I am joining others from across the state in asking the CA Legislature to prioritize investment in our food and farming system," she said.
"Even in a state with so much agricultural bounty, and a focus on healthy eating, I still struggle to afford top quality produce for my own family's table.
A total of 19 community organizations and policy experts, representing food and agricultural regions from Humboldt to Oakland to San Diego, have joined together to push for food system reform under the banner of the California Food Policy Council.
Despite California's position as the nation's most important agriculture state and the epicenter for sustainable food trends, no cohesive group of California community organizations and policy experts had ever been successfully created until now.
Roots of Change president and CAFPC advisor, Mr Dimock said that the new report will alert statewide elected officials that a determined new constituency will be asking for their leadership.
ROOTS OF CHANGE
Roots of Change is a 'think tank' organization dedicated to developing a CA food system that is healthy, diverse, profitable and fair.
Since 2000, Michael R. Dimock, President, has grown ROC into a resource for the food movement, creating collaborations between agriculture and NGOs, community organizations and policy experts.
To read the full ROC & CAFPC report go to the following link: REPORT
San Francisco Latest
stories of interest from around San Francisco