RE: AB 958 (Aguiar-Curry) Organic-to-School Pilot Program – SUPPORT
Dear Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry:
We are ## farmers who support your bill, AB 958, because it will help California’s organic farmers and public schools work together to bring healthy food to kids.
California is the nation’s leading producer of organic food, yet too many California organic farmers lack stable markets for the healthy, sustainable food we grow. The pay-off for transitioning to organic agriculture is great, but the transition is economically risky and technically challenging. California farmers also face unique challenges related to increasing costs of labor, fuel, compost, and other inputs. We need to be sure that we will have reliable and fair markets for our products during and after the transition to organic.
Public schools are an ideal partner to grow California’s organic industry. There is significant demand in the school sector for organic and sustainably grown foods. Organic food is produced without most synthetic pesticides, and organic diets have been shown to decrease pesticide levels in people’s bodies in a short amount of time. Schools provide a major source of nourishment for the next generation of Californians, as well as a huge potential market for the food we grow. In addition, encouraging participating school districts to prioritize local procurement and farms that offer educational opportunities will help kids become more connected to what they eat and where their food comes from. Organic farmers are innovators, and we welcome the opportunity to introduce the next generation to our farms.
Finally, as AB 958 recognizes, organic farms are climate-friendly farms. Cover cropping, crop rotation, and other soil building practices are integral to organic farming, and we appreciate any steps the Legislature can take to recognize our contributions toward achieving the state’s climate action goals.
As an agricultural powerhouse, California should be investing in a food system that is climate-friendly, promotes health, and supports farming as a viable career path and source of economic development in our rural communities. AB 958 is an important step in the right direction. Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.