For their fifth talk, they will be emphasizing the “farm” in farm-to-fork efforts.
Today, California farmers deal daily with the ups and downs of exporting overseas, strict government regulations, the rise of Big Agribusiness, irregular drought-to-flood-in-a-year weather patterns, and the impact of immigration issues on their workforce. All of this affects what crops they grow, how they grow it, and whether they can afford to keep the farm going. And of course this affects the foodies, too, in terms of what kind of access they will have to locally-grown products — and what they will pay for it.
So the ag industry is at a crossroads today. Are there enough young farmers to take over for seasoned ones who want to retire? Can they afford to make a living in a high-cost-of-living state? Can they be profitable and sustainable when climate change makes it harder to predict what they can sow and reap?
These questions weigh heavily on farmers, producers and agribusinesses in California right now. The answers are important to anyone who buys their products.
Join the discussion on the second floor of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op with two people who are leading the charge to shape the future of farming in California:
–Dennis Donohue, (head of Western Growers’ Center for Innovation and Technology) As the former mayor of Salinas, he got Silicon Valley interested in his city as a burgeoning AgTech hub, and is now focused on connecting AgTech startups to California farmers.
–Mary Kimball, (executive director of the Center for Land-Based Learning) She leads multiple programs around the state to get youth interested and employed in the farming industry, and helps to get young farmers on their feet through training, apprenticeships and business incubators.