By CDFA Secretary Karen Ross
Thank you, farmworkers. Thank you for the physically strenuous work in all kinds of weather to bring a crop from planting to harvest. Thank you for the daily contributions you make to bring safe, high quality food to our tables from the front lines of a food and agriculture supply chain that delivers California’s bountiful harvest to grocery stores and restaurants, farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture programs, and food banks throughout the United States.
On this Cesar Chavez Day, we honor the legacy of Mr. Chavez for his tireless work on behalf of farmworkers, and we reiterate our profound appreciation for the essential role of farmworkers in making California the No. 1 agricultural state in the nation and one of the most productive in the world.
The COVID-19 crisis brings us all to uncertain times and shared anxieties. Our focus on food – how we source it, prepare it and share it brings a sense of purpose and a reminder of the importance to care for one another. We see this every day with stories about extraordinary efforts by volunteers to shop for senior citizens; school districts finding resourceful ways to continue feeding school children who count on that meal for their nutritional needs; and restaurants creating innovative family meals for take-out and offering special services for the families of our health care profession. Californians can be proud of every part of the food chain continuing to ensure the availability of food and ag products produced according to our state’s high standards for worker protection, food safety, and environmental stewardship.
Our food producers have been focused on enhanced worker safety measures from the very beginning of this crisis – taking guidance and best practices from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health to introduce social distancing in fields and on production lines. And they have made sure to incorporate that guidance into training and illness prevention programs.
Today, like every day, I am grateful to each member of the critical food and agriculture infrastructure for working to provide us with the nutrition we need to survive and thrive. But especially today, I offer a special thanks to our farmworkers.