Farmers’ Market Workers Should be Included in 1B Vaccine Group

January 15, 2021

To: Dr Erica Pan, CDPH; Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, OSG; Community Vaccine Advisory Committee Members

CC: Honorable Governor Gavin Newsom, Secretary Karen Ross, Bobbie Wunsch
Re: Ensure CA’s Certified Farmers’ Markets Industry Included in Phase 1b of Vaccination Plan

We appreciate the State’s continued leadership and action in addressing the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on Californians, and working to achieve an equitable and effective approach to vaccination rollout. We are writing to ask that you ensure the farmers’ market industry, including farmers, farm workers, vendors, and farmers’ market managers, are included in the Phase 1b vaccination plan, along with other essential workers.

The California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets is a member-based coalition of Certified Farmers’ Markets, farmers, and affiliate partners dedicated to promoting the direct farmer-to-consumer relationship, supporting California’s independent farmers, and increasing access to fresh, healthy, locally-grown food. We represent Certified Farmers’ Markets throughout the State of California and work to ensure local and state regulations strengthen the farmers’ market industry.

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is a membership organization of family farmers and supporters that focuses on sustainable agriculture and assisting small and mid-sized farmers with marketing. CAFF has been instrumental in creating and maintaining the direct marketing laws in California, including Certified Farmers Markets.

Farmers’ markets, while a small share of the market, remain an important and safe location for Californians to access fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables, in an open air environment. Many low-income Californians, including those using CalFresh, Women Infants & Children (WIC) benefits, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers, and those utilizing the statewide nutrition incentive program Market Match, also rely on farmers’ markets to meet their families’ basic food needs. Additionally, farmers’ markets are an essential marketing outlet for California’s small and mid-sized farmers.

Farmers’ Market operators care deeply about the communities they serve, and have worked tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic to remain open, and take proactive steps to protect market customers, farmers, vendors, and market manager staff. In order to continue to keep the farmers’ market essential workers, and those they serve, safe, we ask that you ensure that farmers’ market managers, farmers, farm workers, and vendors selling at farmers’ markets be included among the other essential workers in the food and agriculture sector, including grocery store workers, in line to get the coronavirus vaccine in phase 1b.

Certified Farmers’ Markets play an essential role for California’s farmers, economy, and communities across the State. We urge you to ensure that the farmers’ market industry workers and small to mid-sized farms and farm workers they support, are protected as soon as possible from the coronavirus.

We appreciate your consideration of this request. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need any further information or assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Carle Brinkman
Food & Farming Director, Ecology Center Alliance Steering Committee Chair carle@ecologycenter.org, 510-548-1005

David Runsten
Policy Director, CAFF dave@caff.org 310-925-0857

Evan Wiig
Author: Evan Wiig

Evan Wiig is the Director of Membership & Communications for CAFF and the founder of The Farmers Guild. A community organizer with a passion for regenerative agriculture, over the past fifteen years he's worked on California farms and ranches, managed community gardens in the heart of Brooklyn and has written journalism on issues of local food and farming. Contact him at evan@caff.org or 415-710-5692