My Holiday Wish – Healthy Food for Everybody

Red bowThe winter holidays are a special time. I find myself reflecting in astonishment about the abundance of food in California and the resilient and innovative nature of our farmers and ranchers who produce it.  Food is key to the celebrations many of us will enjoy over the next couple of weeks. We are fortunate to have so many choices to share with family and friends, and I hope each of you has the opportunity to partake in the bounty and spirit of the holiday season.

I am also thinking back several years, to the time I was serving on the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and was honored to help establish Ag Vision, which is a plan to address future challenges and opportunities for farmers and ranchers and, in the process, maintain a sustainable food system. Ag Vision has 12 strategies for sustainability. The first is improving access to safe, healthy food for all Californians. Doing so would help solve an immediate concern. (AgVision is online at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/agvision/)

Food insecurity is an alarming problem in our state.  Estimates are that nearly 15 percent of California households don’t always know where their next meal is coming from, and that more than one in 10 children are food insecure.  In this state, the largest food producer of them all, that is simply untenable.

That’s why we worked to establish December as “Farm to Food Bank Month” in California. This is our inaugural year, and we’re off to a promising start. At an event last week at the Community Food Bank in Fresno, the locals told us there was a 40 percent increase in produce donations, for a total of 10 million pounds. Statewide, farmers have donated more than 100 million pounds of food to food banks and other charities. 

I’m not surprised. We know farmers take pride in feeding people and are more than willing to help the needy.  So we’re on our way. But there’s so much more we can do. My longtime friend and colleague Craig McNamara, president of the State Board and a farmer, summed it up perfectly last week when he urged farmers throughout California to “give us a row” to help fight food insecurity. That level of commitment would pay enormous benefits as we work to bring happy holidays to as many people as possible, and then provide consistent access to healthy food all year-round. 

May you and your families enjoy all the best this holiday season.  I look forward to sharing much more with you in 2012.

This entry was posted in AG Vision, Agricultural Education, Food Access and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Holiday Wish – Healthy Food for Everybody

  1. Linda Bellamy says:

    Good to the cdfa protecting our food and our animals , thank you for clearing Mr. kringle and his reindeer allowing them to enter Calif.

  2. Archie Diaz says:

    Thanks for the 100 million pounds of Food Donated to food banks by our California Farmers, may you have an abundant crop in years to come.

    “We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are” _Adelle Davis (1904-1974).

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