• AB1066

    Cur­rent Cal­i­for­nia reg­u­la­tions require pre­mium pay for agri­cul­tural employ­ees after 10 hours in a day.

    Cal­i­for­nia is one of only five states in the nation to offer over­time pay for farm employees.

    Gov­er­nor Jerry Brown’s recent sign­ing of AB 1066 is set to put in motion more tough changes for farm­ers and undoubt­edly to those they employ.

    Oppo­nents to AB 1066 say farm employ­ers also face stresses from sched­uled increases in the new min­i­mum wage com­ing in 2017, higher costs to com­ply with other reg­u­la­tions, and com­pet­i­tive pres­sures from farm­ers in other states and other nations who don’t face the same requirements.
  • Break­ing Down Bar­ri­ers for Local Food

    By Kath­leen Weaver

    Most con­sumers believe pro­duce comes shrouded in plas­tic; per­fectly selected apples pre­sented in a pris­tine pack­age ready to enjoy. And while any­one eat­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles excites me for all the obvi­ous rea­sons; health and com­merce related, there is one sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between the eater of today and that of the past. Eighty years ago most folks knew how an apple was grown, which is no longer the case.

    Eighty years ago a sub­stan­tial chunk of the work­force was employed in agri­cul­ture; 22% of work­ers rep­re­sent­ing roughly 27 of 123 mil­lion peo­ple who called the US home at the time. They farmed on small farms in all regions of the US pro­duc­ing mostly for their own sub­sis­tence. How­ever, trends began to shift with elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, mech­a­niza­tion, and infra­struc­ture and trans­port improve­ments, allow­ing peo­ple to seek off-​farm work. This is where we see the most sub­stan­tial change in our food sys­tem that until recently remained unchallenged.

  • Field Days

    Farm­ing isn’t just about fresh pro­duce. It’s also about sus­tain­able food and com­mu­nity cul­ture.

    As stu­dents return to the class­room and sum­mer days slip away, its time to plan a trip to a local farm, orchard or ranch.

    Fall har­vests give the con­sumer an up close and per­sonal view of how our foods are grown and pro­duced. This per­spec­tive allows for greater appre­ci­a­tion and admi­ra­tion.

    Start to fin­ish, the process of seed to fork is more than just a catchy slo­gan to the peo­ple pro­duc­ing our food. It’s a full­time com­mit­ment and major invest­ment of time, money and human resources.

    Cul­ti­vat­ing soil, grow­ing crops and rais­ing live­stock all con­tribute to the rich agri­cul­tural story in the United States. From bee keep­ing to hor­ti­cul­ture, the life-​work equa­tion for farm­ers gets blurry. There is no line that typ­i­cally will sep­a­rate the two.

    On a daily basis, from morn­ing to night­fall, farm­ers move from task to task. As a way of life, there is a rhythm to nec­es­sary duties that fol­low each sea­son. This real life drama plays out with daily work lists and plenty of grit, deter­mi­na­tion and ambi­tion. No couch squat­ters allowed.
  • Hand Picked

    Com­mer­cial “hand har­vest­ing” of fruit, nut, and veg­etable crops is hard, tedious, and time-​consuming work.

    Not many Amer­i­can work­ers rel­ish the idea of work­ing the fields and orchards to per­form such demand­ing phys­i­cal labor.

    At least 2025 per­cent of the United States’ veg­etable acreage and 4045 per­cent of the fruit acreage is totally depen­dent on hand harvesting.

    These crops rep­re­sent about 30 per­cent of the U.S. fruit, nut, and veg­etable acreage and have an annual value of over $13 bil­lion. The amount of labor needed for har­vest­ing is often well over 50 per­cent of the total annual farm labor requirement.