Farmworker, Agriculture, Food and Environment Groups Unite in Support of Proposed Legislation to Build a Resilient, Healthy Food Supply | Pesticide Action Network
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Farmworker, Agriculture, Food and Environment Groups Unite in Support of Proposed Legislation to Build a Resilient, Healthy Food Supply

Assembly Bill 125 to place bond act before voters in 2022

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021

SACRAMENTO –  A broad coalition of agriculture, labor, food and environment advocates have united in support of Assembly Bill 125, the Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act.

AB 125 is a groundbreaking proposal to give voters the chance to approve a $3 billion effort to accelerate California’s economic recovery and build a healthier, more equitable and resilient food and farm system. Bond investments would improve the state’s wildfire and climate resilience, protect essential farmworkers, make sure all Californians have access to healthy food, invest in regional food processing and market infrastructure, and promote sustainable agricultural practices that reduce pollution and climate-proof our food supply. AB 125 was introduced by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Co-Chair of the Latino Caucus. 

Margaret Reeves, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network, and active member of the coalition says: "A sustainable food and farm system, among many other features, is one in which agricultural workers live in community and work in safe, healthy environments — where farm work is treated as both essential and professional and compensated as such. The bond will provide essential health and safety protections for farmworkers in their homes and in the field, support the construction of desperately needed family housing for farmworkers, and provide professional training opportunities for these hard-working folks who put food on our tables."

In virtual meetings with over 20 legislative offices, nearly 100 advocates shared the importance of passage of the bill. As the nation’s leading food-producing state, investments in California not only ensure our long-term food security, but uniquely position the state to lead in addressing a wide range of food, agriculture and climate challenges as the United States rebounds from the pandemic. 

The bond will invest $3.122 billion over five years to accelerate California’s economic recovery from COVID-19, earmarking investments in four key areas:

  • Regional and local food processing, distribution, and market infrastructure, especially for the state’s most vulnerable communities.
  • Safety and well-being for farm workers.
  • Food insecurity and healthy food access.
  • Sustainable agriculture and climate resilience.

"This bond represents the largest investment in sustainable and organic agriculture in the state's history. By strengthening supply chains, investing in technical assistance, and supporting the transition to organic, this bond equips current and future organic farmers with the tools they need to provide Californians with healthy, climate-friendly food." - Kelly Damewood, CEO of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).

“At the Agricultural Institute of Marin, we believe the best solutions solve multiple problems. AB 125 is solving the inter-related problems of the climate crisis, food insecurity, health risks among frontline workers, and lack of infrastructure for local and regional food systems. We can no longer be passive, nor can we work in silos. We have a social responsibility to build food systems that put small-to-mid-sized farmers and farmworkers at the heart of these solutions while creating access to healthy, culturally-relevant, and traditional foods in a way that empowers communities of color and tribes.” - Andy Naja-Riese, CEO, Agricultural institute of Marin.

For more information, please refer to the AB 125 Coalition website: www.voteforyourfood.org.

The full text of the bill is available here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB125

Media contact: Margaret Reeves, mreeves@panna.org; (510) 593-4351

AB 125 Coauthors:

Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), and Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles)

AB 125 sponsors:

Agricultural Institute of Marin, American Farmland Trust (AFT), California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), Californians for Pesticide Reform, Carbon Cycle Institute, Center for Food Safety, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), Intertribal Agriculture Council, Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Pesticide Action Network, Roots of Change, Sustainable Agriculture Education, and UFCW Western States Council.