California Food & Justice Coalition

:: February 2009 Newsletter ::

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IN THIS ISSUE: :: CFJC News :: Funding and Grant Opportunities :: Workshops, Conferences & Seminars :: Honoring African American farmers :: Stimulating Justice with the Economic Stimulus Package :: In the News :: Announcements :: Jobs ____________________________________________________________
CFJC News :: The Garden screening and panel. Please join us for a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Garden, at Sacramento’s Crest Theater on March 4. Co-hosted by the Public Health Institute, the screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring the film’s protagonists, Rufina Juarez and Tezozomoc. The event is free, but donations for CFJC are welcome. Call us at 510-704-0245 for more details. :: Does your organization need more money?. Hone your fundraising skills at CFJC’s fundraising training March 26 in Los Angeles. The training will be led by one of the experts from Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT). Cost per participant is $60 (scholarships available), and spaces are limited. To register, email More info will be available on our website next week. Check back soon. :: 2009 Internship Opportunities — Available Immediately. We are looking for interns to work on outreach, program development and administrative tasks. Interested applicants must be able to commit to a minimum of five hours / week for at least three months. For more information, please email with “internship” as the subject line. :: Do you love Facebook? We do too, but we’re not very good at it. We’re looking for an intern who enjoys and excels at using Facebook to help us use our causes page more effectively. If you’re interested, email ____________________________________________________________ Funding & Grant Opportunities :: Honor the Earth grant. In partnership with the Tides Foundation, Honor the Earth awards grants solely to organizations that are led and managed by Native peoples. Priority is given to grassroots, community-based organizations and groups with a lack of access to federal and/or tribal funding resources. Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000. For more info: :: The Network for a Healthy CA announces RFA. The Network recently released the Local Food and Nutrition Education Request for Applications. Up to 10 LFNE projects will be funded for up to $85,000 annually, for a three-year contract period from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2012. See the Funding Alert for additional details: :: Got online fundraising questions? The Grassroots Fundraising Journal will soon have a regular column with tips for grassroots groups to raise money online. Send your online fundraising questions to and include “online fundraising question” in the subject line. For more info and tips to help groups get through these hard times, go to: <> ____________________________________________________________ Workshops Conferences & Seminars :: MAFO National Farmworker Conference: March 29- April 1 held in San Antonio Texas. Join MAFO and a strong group of rural professionals presenters as they make the case for 'Building Stronger Rural Communities'. To learn more about MAFO,the conference and to pre- register , go to <> :: CA Air Resources Board Public Workshops. Find out more about what local governments can do to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what you can do to advocate for these changes. For more information, go to: <> :: USDA Meeting on Farm Bill Conservation Priorities for CA. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California will host a State Technical Advisory Committee meeting on March 4, 2009, to continue a public dialogue on priorities and procedures appropriate for implementing conservation programs in the Golden State in 2009. For more information: :: Compact for Racial Justice: An Agenda for Fairness and Unity. The Applied Research Center is hosting a bi-weekly series of conference calls on issues related to race and justice. On Mar. 3: Race and Health. For more info, visit: :: The Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training Program For White Social Justice Activists. Starting in August, The Catalyst Project will be offering this 4-month-long political education and leadership development program designed to support the vision, strategy, and organizing skills of white activists in becoming accountable, principled anti-racist organizers building multiracial movements for justice. For more info and the application: ____________________________________________________________ Honoring African American Farmers and Advocates In celebration of Black History month, CFJC takes a look at the messed-up situation that Black farmers in the US are facing and a few of the individuals working to change it. Between the end of slavery and 1920, African Americans established over 1 million farms on almost 15 million acres. Since then, numbers have declined so drastically that there are now less that 15,000 African American farmers in the country, and less than 1/3 of 1% of California farmers are African American. One of the reasons for this near-disappearance of African American farmers was brought to light by the 1999 class-action lawsuit, Pigford v. Glickman, where it was proved that the USDA discriminated against African Americans applying for farm programs and loans for over 100 years. As a result, many faced foreclosure. Ten years later, many of the claims are still unresolved. For the latest on the Pigford suit, check out: <;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;cd=1&amp;gl=us&amp;client=firefox-a> . Just recently, Vilsack announced his intent to make civil rights a top priority at the USDA: Let’s hope that Vilsack makes good on his promise. In the meantime, here are a few of the individuals working hard to change the situation African American farmers are facing. :: Leroy Musgraves is a farmer and advocate in Merced County where he grows 5 acres of diversified crops and raises chickens. The sole focus of farming for him is to produce foods with the nutritional and medicinal properties that fight diet-related diseases. Leroy sells his produce exclusively at farmers’ markets in low-income areas. You can find Leroy's produce at the North Oakland Senior Center's weekly farmstand. :: Will Scott Jr. is a farmer in Fresno and president of the African American Farmers of California. In addition to selling his produce at West Oakland’s Mandela Farmers’ Market, Will has started a demonstration site in the Fresno area where new Black farmers can gain hands-on experience and training from seasoned farmers. You can find Will's produce at the weekly Mandela Farmer's Market.

::Jason Harvey is founder and director of Oakland Food Connection (OFC), a non-profit that improves the quality of life of Oakland’s low-income residents by providing nutrition education and access to sustainably produced foods. OFC’s latest CSA project connects area Black farmers with Oakland residents who don’t normally enjoy access to organic produce. For more info: :: Gail Myers, PhD is a cultural anthropologist who researches agricultural traditions of African American farmers. She runs Farms to Grow, Inc (FTGI), a non-profit dedicated to helping African American farmers maintain their farms while developing new relationships with consumers, who gain greater access to fresh, locally grown food. FTGI also focuses on programs that make farming a viable career option for young people. For more info: ::Khubaka, Michael Harris is the California director of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association. Through his writing and speaking, he works to bring a renaissance of African American agriculture in California and all across the nation “that will not forget the bridges that have brought us thus far along our journey.” :: David Roach is the founder of The Familyhood Connection / Mo' Better Food, an organization dedicated to reversing the decline of African American farmers in the US by creating new markets for their produce. One of David's projects is the Mandela Farmers' Market. For more info: ____________________________________________________________ Stimulating Justice (thanks to Frank Tamborello for this info) The recent passage of the Economic Stimulus Bill brings needed funds to many programs for low-income individuals... :: Includes $19.9 billion for increased SNAP/Food Stamp spending. Most of that goes to boosting benefits, which translates to an initial 13.6 percent increase in the value of the Thrifty Food Plan. (The increase phases out over time.) It is likely that this will begin with the April 2009 allotments. It suspends time limits on eligibility for jobless adults without dependents through FY 2010. :: Includes $500 million for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, with $400 million to support anticipated increases in the caseload and $100 million for Management Information Systems (MIS). :: Provides $100 million for school food service equipment grants (so that schools can provide real food for our real children). :: Provides $5 million for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) to allow for facility improvements and equipment upgrades. :: Provides other food assistance, including $100 million for Emergency Food and Shelter to help local community organizations provide food and shelter; $100 million for formula grants to states for elderly nutrition services including Meals on Wheels; and $100 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to purchase commodities and $50 million for TEFAP administrative expenses. :: Provides help for the families of millions of children through an expansion of the refundable Child Tax Credit (allowing families to begin qualifying for the child tax credit when earnings go over $3,000). :: Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit by providing additional relief to families with three or more children and increasing marriage penalty relief. :: Provides $1.1 billion for Early Head Start and $1 billion for Head Start-thereby providing services for 110,000 additional infants and children. :: Provides $2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care services to an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work. :: Continues through December 2009 the extended unemployment benefits program (which provides up to 33 weeks of extended benefits) that is otherwise scheduled to begin to phase out at the end of March 2009 - thereby helping an additional 3.5 million jobless workers. :: Increases unemployment benefits for 20 million jobless workers by $25 per week, and encourages states to modernize their UI systems to keep up with the changing workforce with expanded coverage. :: Includes $500 million for green jobs training. :: Gives a one-time extra payment of $250 to SSI recipients. ___________________________________________________________ In the News :: "Healthy food should be a right and not a privilege" : Food Empowerment Project's Lauren Ornelas’s testimony at the new Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture. See the video of Ornelas’s testimony fifteen minutes into the video: :: Is ecological agriculture productive? Um...yes. Here’s the proof. In this briefing paper from the Oakland Institute, Lim Li Ching, demystifies the productivity debate by examining evidence from the developing world. Read the paper here: :: Who Gets Good Food? In this radio interview, Alison Alkon, sociology professor at the University of the Pacific, talks about the food justice movement that takes food security principles and challenges them to be even more explicitly ant-racist. Hear the interview here: <;z=11>

In Government News........ :: Obama taps organic, local foods advocate for No. 2 post at USDA. Read more about the nomination of sustainable ag expert, Kathleen Merrigan, for deputy secretary at USDA here: :: Assuring the Integrity of Organic Food and Organic Fertilizers After two recent cases of synthetic fertilizers being passed off on unsuspecting growers and consumers as organic, Dean Florez, Chair of the newly revamped Senate Food and Ag Committee held hearings on the issue. Watch a video of the hearings (including testimony from the folks at CCOF) here: :: Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2009 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published its annual update to the federal poverty guidelines for 2009. The new guidelines, pegged at $22,050 annually for a four-person family, reflect a 3.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment from the previous year. To learn more: :: SNAP waivers broadened for the unemployed. Under federal regulations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has the authority to waive the statutory three-month time limit on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) if it is determined that the local area has an insufficient number of jobs for employment opportunities. States may qualify for a 12-month statewide waiver of the ABAWD time limit if the state meets federal Department of Labor criteria for extended unemployment benefits. A recent memo from USDA advises states that growing unemployment in the current economic downturn may offer an alternate means of achieving ABAWD waivers, though states must still take action to request the waiver. For more information, see: ____________________________________________________________ Announcements :: If You Could Help End Modern-Day Slavery in Florida's Fields with an Email, Would You? The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) needs your help to convince Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to take a stand against modern-day slavery in our food system. For more information about the situation: To send an email to Gov. Crist: :: "Real Food Is" YouTube Contest Winners! The video contest, created by the National Farm to School Network, challenged students K- college to consider: what real food means to them and why their cafeteria should start or continue buying local foods. Check out the winning videos and learn more about the contest itself here <> :: Do you think about the connections between racism, colonization, slavery and unhealthy “traditional” foods? Here’s some info about a zine about decolonizing our diets: Food is political; what we eat and how we eat affects land, animals and us. It is also a tool that can be used for struggles. That being said here's what we are looking for: confessions, recipes, testimonials, images, dilemmas, struggles and poems about food and health. 500-1,000 words. No later than March 7, 2009. You must identify as a person of color. This project is open to womyn and transfolk , but we are also looking for men to contribute through submissions. For more info: ____________________________________________________________ Jobs and Internships :: The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association is hiring a Market Manager. For more info:

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Want to be removed? email: The California Food and Justice Coalition is a statewide membership coalition committed to the basic human right to healthy food while advancing social, agricultural and environmental justice. We collaborate with community-based efforts in California working to create a socially just, ecologically and economically sustainable food supply. We envision a California food system in which all activities, from farm to table, are equitable, healthful, regenerative, and community-driven. California Food and Justice Coalition 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite F, Berkeley, CA 94702 Phone: 510-704-0245 FAX: 510-548-8896 <> email:

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