American Farmland Trust is partnering with the California Board of Food and Agriculture in facilitating the process to build a strategic plan for the future of agriculture in the nation’s leading farm state. California’s Ag Vision 2030 engages leaders and experts in agriculture and related fields to address economic, food safety, environmental and other pressing issues confronting growers and the agricultural sector.
In 2009, AFT was asked by the State Board to partner with the state Department of Food & Agriculture to lead the planning process called California Agricultural Vision. AFT California Director Ed Thompson asked Ralph Grossi, a California rancher who served as AFT’s president from 1985 to 2008, to co-chair the effort. They recruited more than one hundred state leaders to participate in a series of professionally-facilitated workshops where the challenges facing California agriculture were identified and potential solutions were proposed. From these workshops emerged a set of policy options on which public comment was solicited.
Meanwhile, AFT convened the advisory committee of 20 high-profile leaders to review the workshop results and recommend short-term steps that could be taken to begin to address the highest priority issues. The committee will also consider other issues – including climate, alternative energy and intergenerational succession– that the larger group said were important to address on a longer timetable.
In 2010, recommendations of a blue ribbon committee convened by AFT to address the major challenges facing California agriculture were accepted in late June by the State Board of Food & Agriculture, the principal agriculture advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger. Five challenges are covered by the recommendations:
- Smarter regulation of agriculture to improve environmental quality
- Better food access for California families in need
- Resource stewardship and conservation for long-term sustainability
- Fairness to agricultural workers and employers
- Regional food marketing opportunities
Each recommendation is intended to generate momentum toward a strategic plan for the state’s agriculture industry and others who have a stake in it. Among the stakeholders represented on the AFT advisory committee along with agricultural leaders are environmentalists, farm labor representatives and advocates for ending hunger and improving nutrition.
Most recently, the progress report, From Strategies to Results, documents more than 40 initiatives being taken to implement the recommendations.
› Download California Agricultural Vision: Strategies for Sustainability (2010)
› Download the new From Strategies to Results (2012) and share your thoughts on the initiatives underway.
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