Friday, December 19, 2014

Free drinking water for limited-resources farmers

CURES recently received a two year grant for limited resource growers* in the Salinas Valley who have a domestic well exceeding the California drinking water standard for nitrates. Through this grant, limited resource growers will get free drinking water either in the form of point-of-use treatment system or monthly bottled water delivery for the household.

For more information, please call 916-628-8241, email kara.s@curesworks.org or visit us at www.curesworks.org

The  start date for this project is not specific, it is rather a range from today until May.
*Limited resource growers are defined as those with a gross adjusted farm income of $176,800 or total household income of less than $28,980 for each of the last two years.


Guest Post: Linking Farmworkers with the Care They Need

When I used to think of a migrant workers, I often envisioned a massive monoculture field of lettuces in the Salinas Valley, or a similar scene of industrial agriculture. It’s easy to forget that these workers also play a role in the local and sustainable food movements; even smaller organic farms face the economic pressures and regulatory realities that push farmers toward hiring migrant or seasonal farmworkers.

Farmers need to provide safe working conditions, culturally-sensitive training, and a living wage to all their workers. Today, migrant farmworkers still suffer mortality and morbidity rates greater than the vast majority of the American population, due in part to the combination of poverty, limited access to health care, and hazardous working conditions. Yet, small-scale farmers may face language and cultural barriers with their farmworkers, which can inhibit proper training and impair communication between farmers and their workers.  Even farmers who share the language and culture of their workers may not know how to access services for their workers.

How does a new farmer access the tools they need to keep their farmworkers safe? At Migrant Clinicians Network (MCN), we work closely with clinicians who have dedicated their professional lives to serving migrant communities. Here are a few ways you can help migrant and seasonal farmworkers gain access to care and prevent workplace injury, to assure that their health needs are met:
  • Connect with your local migrant health center. Many of these workers are eligible for low-cost health services, designed specifically for them.  Community health centers across the US receive funding just to serve the migrant and seasonal farmworker population.  These centers often provide outreach materials, transportation, and health screenings in multiple languages.  Another list of centers is maintained on the website of HRSA, the government agency that is responsible for funding community health centers.
  • Provide culturally-appropriate trainings in their language. MCN’s website has a wealth of resources for community outreach workers that farmers can utilize for training purposes, including bilingual comic books on workers’ rights on the farm and proper pesticide application, information on the Affordable Care Act, and more.  In MCN’s Resources and Tool Box sections, click “Patient Resources” in the left sidebar.
  • Help them continue care as they move.  One of the biggest frustrations for migrant clinicians is the inability to keep patients with chronic illnesses in care as they move. MCN’s Health Network is a bridge case management program for mobile workers with chronic illnesses.  This means that a farmworker with an illness like HIV, diabetes, or TB in California is assisted by MCN to continue treatment as they travel to Oregon or Washington for the next season’s work.  The health center can sign up a worker with Health Network, and HN will then assist the worker to establish care in their next location.  Encourage your community health center to utilize the program.
  • Get to know your workers. Many of these workers find themselves isolated from the larger community, as Margaret Gray writes in her book, Labor and the Locavore. Get to know their stories, better understand their day-to-day-lives,  and learn why they’re working with you.
  • Encourage your fellow farmers to do the same. We’re all in this together. Let’s ensure that our workers can have healthy, safe working lives just as we hope for ourselves and for our families.
Claire Hutkins Seda is the writer and editor for Migrant Clinicians Network, a nonprofit focused on health justice for the mobile poor.  To learn more about what MCN is up to, you can read MCN’s blog at http://www.migrantclinician.org/community/blog.html, or follow MCN on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Help shape the Food Safety Modernization Act!! Comments Due December 15, 2014

In late September, 2014, the FDA released a modified set of draft regulations for the Food Safety Modernization Act's (FSMA) Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule; they had been revised considerably in response to extensive comments submitted by farmers and organizations during 2013. Comments about these revised rules are due to the FDA by December 15, 2014.

Learn more: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/smallfarm/index.cfm

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Great resource! NSAC's "Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities" guide

Producers, landowners, NGO’s, and researchers who are seeking resources to help them reach their sustainable agriculture goals need look no further than the recently updated Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities Guide. The 86-page guide covers 63 programs, which coincide with changes reflected in the 2014 Farm Bill.  It provides a one-stop reference for governmental resources, information, and financial assistance on topics ranging from investment opportunities in agricultural entrepreneurial ventures to technical assistance and grant funding for renewable energy projects, and everything in between. Each program entry provides a description, eligibility requirements, application process information and resources, in addition to websites, agency contact information, and project examples if available.

View, download, or purchase a hardcopy here: https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=279

Monday, November 24, 2014

Farm Commons: Legal Resources for small farms

Webinars, publications, and other resources focused on legal issues related to small farms.
Learn more: http://farmcommons.org/webinars/

USDA Announces Availability of Whole-Farm Revenue Protection

USDA Risk Management Agency has announced that the new Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance policy is now available for the 2015 crop year. The policy allows producers to insure 50-85% of their whole-farm revenue and makes crop insurance more affordable for fruit and vegetable growers and organic farmers and ranchers. Contact a local insurance agent for more information about the program.

Learn more: http://www.rma.usda.gov/policies/2015/wfrpfactsheet.pdf

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Farmland Lease Clinic & Mixer; December 3rd in Salinas; Register today!

Hello everyone,

California FarmLink will provide a free "Farmland Lease Clinic & Mixer" on Wednesday, December 3rd, at ALBA's Rural Development Center in Salinas.

Are you interested in attending? Space is limited. Learn more and register today. 

(If you are a farmer or landowner with an interesting story to share about your experience with farmland leases, please contact ali@cafarmlink.org.)

We look forward to seeing you there!