As California farmers have experienced a sudden loss of up-to 50 percent of their markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CDFA secretary Karen Ross is teaming up with California Grown to urge Californians to support their farmers by continuing to buy California-grown products. This open letter from the secretary appeared in connection with advertisements in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times California newsletter, and McClatchy newspapers, including the Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and the Sacramento Bee. The ad and letter will run this week in Spanish-language publications in the Central Valley.
After all that we’ve been through these past few months, Californians are long overdue for a reason to break bread in celebration. Now, we have one. By simply enjoying the delicious foods made from the world’s best ingredients (which are obviously grown right here in California) – we can help support the 1.2 million jobs and $263 billion in state revenue that California farming generates each year.
Everyone has been touched by COVID-19, and our state’s farmers and farmworkers are no exception. With sheltering in place and its effect on the restaurant and hospitality industries, many farmers and farmworkers also face substantial financial loss. So, even as they continue to work diligently to keep our nation fed by growing over 400 crops and providing a third of the vegetables and two thirds of the fruits and nuts in the U.S. – their livelihoods, along with those rural communities who support them – are at risk. A healthy agriculture sector is foundational in taking care of humanity’s basic needs. Now more than ever, we need to secure and strengthen our food supply and the distribution chains that deliver it.
So, what can you do? Well, first always be sure to follow the social distancing guidelines outlined by your city. Then, when you go to the grocery store or farmer’s market – make sure to choose fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, wine, flowers, and garden and nursery plants that were grown in California.
Each California Grown purchase directly helps support our local farmers and stabilize our economy. So, let’s show support for those who work so hard to support us. Let’s get this beautiful state of ours back on track. Buy local. Buy California Grown.
Karen Ross, Secretary
California Department of Food and Agriculture