By CDFA Secretary Karen Ross
It is the season to reflect on the year, gather around the table, and give thanks! As someone who feels truly blessed to work with people I respect and admire, I feel thankful every day to be part of food and agriculture.
It is my passion and my purpose to travel the state and share with all Californians what I see first-hand as the amazing miracle of California agriculture! The farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, and all others who play an integral role in our food supply are a testament to hard work, innovation, resiliency, and optimism every day regardless of the challenges. That includes every one of our dedicated and talented CDFA staff members who are so passionate about our mission to ensure safe, nutritious, high-quality food and agricultural products — produced with the highest environmental and labor standards.
For many of California’s nearly forty million residents it is easy to take for granted what goes into the food on our table, but it’s important to remember that nutritional security is not assured. In a world of harsher and more frequent extreme weather events, producing food with access for all is threatened by climate change. I am grateful for the investment Governor Newsom and the Legislature have made in climate smart ag programs to support adaptation and the ability of farmers and ranchers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be part of the climate change solution by sequestering carbon.
At the other end of the food chain, Governor Newsom, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and the Legislature have made significant investments in Farm-to-School programs to support small and mid-sized, historically-underserved farmers and ranchers with local school procurement. It is a holistic investment that is combined with nutrition education and experiential learning to inspire healthy lifelong habits in students and their families, to help them avoid chronic diseases and fully achieve their potential.
As young people learn about exciting agricultural technology and innovations that enhance our ability to produce food with care—for the environment as well as the people who make it possible–I know they will see what I do: California agriculture is about growing opportunity! It’s a chance to be involved in a career -– a calling, really -– to produce food and ag products for healthy lives, healthy communities, and a healthy environment. How thankful I am for all the people who make our California agricultural bounty possible!