POLICY

We are the voice of sustainable agriculture in California. For over 40 years, we’ve been advocating for state and national policies that create more resilient family farms, communities and ecosystems.


Policies at all levels of government impact farms and ranches everywhere, shaping who has the opportunity to farm, the markets that farmers rely on, and the health of the ecosystems farmers work with. Advocating for policy change presents a unique opportunity to impact the lives of farmers and grow a more equitable and sustainable future for food and agriculture.

HOW IT WORKS:

CAFF collaborates with farmers to create and advance policies that are rooted in their needs, promote economic fairness, strengthen local communities, center justice and equity, and advance environmental sustainability. We work to give voice to family farmers across California, listening to their needs, concerns and aspirations, and speaking up for those often too busy in the field growing our food to do so on their own.

With over four decades of experience in the halls of Sacramento and Washington D.C., together we advocate for policies ranging from food safety regulations to immigration reform, ecosystem protections to the local markets on which our small businesses depend. Local, state and federal policies have the power to help farms thrive, steward our lands and produce healthy food.

STATE: Every year, we weigh in on California legislation, lending our support to bills that promote our mission and our members, opposing those that threaten them, and sponsoring bills of our own to give family farmers a better chance at success. CAFF provides backbone support and is a member of the California Food & Farming Network, which is building a movement centered on racial equity to transform the food and farming system through state policies.

 

NATIONAL: CAFF is an active member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, working with partners from across the country to advocate for  forward-thinking reform in the halls of D.C., from the Farm Bill to Immigration, giving California communities and farmers a voice in the national debate.

CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Nelson Hawkins

Farmer, We Grow Urban Farm

West Sacramento, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Monica Lin

FoodShed

San Diego, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Cindy Lashbrook

Farmer, Riverdance Farms

Livingston, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Cheyenne Stone

Big Pine Paiute Tribe

Big Pine, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Ken Kimes

Farmer, New Natives

Corralitos, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

C. Lilian Thaoxaochay

Small Farms Community Educator, UCCE Fresno Small Farms & Specialty Crops Program

Fresno, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Chris Fields Sr.

African American Farmers of California

Fresno, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Gowan Batist

Farmer, Fortunate Farm

Caspar, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Steve Kroes

Policy Consultant & Realtor

Fair Oaks, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Judith Redmond

Full Belly Farm

Guinda, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Dawnie Andrak

CAFF Board Chair

Sacramento, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

George Davis

Farmer, Porter Creek Vineyard

Healdsburg, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Josefina Lara Chavez

Senior Manager, Latinx Farmer Programming & Farm to Market

Hollister, CA
CAFF’s Statewide Policy Committee

Emma Torbert

Farmer, UC Davis Student Farm

Davis, CA

Nelson Hawkins

Farmer, We Grow Urban Farm

Nelson holds over 13 years of experience in small diversified farms working with fruits, vegetables, gourmet mushrooms, cannabis, chicken eggs, freshwater fish, honeybees, and vermicomposting. In 2018 he founded We Grow Urban Farm in West Sacramento, CA. His farm cultivates one acre of seasonal vegetables and fruits for their summer farm stand, community supported agriculture program, local restaurants and food distribution programs. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from UC Davis with a minor in ecology. His passion has led him to create ecologically focused farms that play an important role in building a strong regenerative local food system. Nelson currently serves on the Racial Equity Farmer Advisory Committee at the California Department of Food and Agriculture(CDFA) and is part of the 2022 Political Leadership Fellowship with the National Young Farmers Coalition, in addition to serving on the CAFF Policy Committee. Nelson is committed to inspiring and empowering the next generation of farmers of color.
West Sacramento, CA

Monica Lin

FoodShed

Monica Lin is a Mexican immigrant of Chinese descent, living and working in San Diego. She is a strong advocate of community based food systems, and against industrial systems which perpetuate racism and classism that continue to exploit people and the planet. Monica currently works with a network of farmers in San Diego through Foodshed - a farmer owned distribution company with the goal of strengthening the local food system. Foodshed works in community with marginalized farmers and disenfranchised neighborhoods. Monica is committed to listening to her community's needs and advocating for meaningful change. (learn more about Monica Lin on the Foodshed website - here)
San Diego, CA

Cindy Lashbrook

Farmer, Riverdance Farms

Livingston, CA

Cheyenne Stone

Big Pine Paiute Tribe

Cheyene Stone is a Paiute/Washoe who was born and raised on the Big Pine Reservation in Inyo County. She is a strong advocate for her community through her engagement with tribal affairs, food sovereignty, cultural bearing, land stewardship, as well as a KoapaNuu Indigenous consultation work. She practices and teaches traditional artistry such as basket weaving, holistic medicine, and beaded jewelry making as well as facilitates a community garden producing fresh foods for her community. Ms. Stone is an ethnographer and has been involved in K-12 education curriculum development. In addition, she currently sits on various advisory committees including the CDFA BIPOC Farmer Advisory Committee. 
Big Pine, CA

Ken Kimes

Farmer, New Natives

Corralitos, CA

C. Lilian Thaoxaochay

Small Farms Community Educator, UCCE Fresno Small Farms & Specialty Crops Program

Lilian is a first-generation Hmong American born and raised in Fresno, CA. Her family has farmed in the Central Valley for over 30 years. Lilian completed her MA in Cultural Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz and has a BA in Medical Anthropology and Asian American Studies from Stanford University. Her background has included community work combating racial/ethnic health disparities and advocating for cultural competency in medical education. Her current interests include the histories of Hmong agriculturalists in Southeast Asia throughout the 20th century, refugee farming in California, and the futures of small-scale growers in the Central Valley. She is currently a Small Farms Community Educator with the UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno County’s Small Farms and Specialty Crops Program. In her spare time she's an avid reader, amateur photographer, and the co-founder of maivmai, an online publication for budding Hmong American writers.
Fresno, CA

Chris Fields Sr.

African American Farmers of California

Chris currently farms at the African American Farmers of California(AAFC) demonstration site in Fresno, California where he grows fresh vegetables for families in the Fresno area. Chris' full-time position is with the Fresno Irrigation District as a Water Systems Operator where he has worked for the past 7 years. He has the responsibility of delivering water through the canal systems in Fresno. Chris also enjoys serving the community through various non profits and is the founder of Jesus Is Our Shepherd Ministry Inc, where they offer Transitional Housing to men and women.
Fresno, CA

Gowan Batist

Farmer, Fortunate Farm

Gowan Batist was born and raised on the Mendocino Coast into an agricultural family. She studied metal fabrication and sustainable agriculture in college, and farmed in Portland, Oregon on a 150-acre farm before returning to Mendocino to manage the Noyo Food Forest, Fort Bragg Unified School District’s farm-to-school program. During her three seasons as manager of the Noyo Food Forest program, she began composting spent grain from North Coast Brewing Company as a hobby. The hobby became a mission and a career, and Fortunate Farm was founded on 40 acres co-owned by North Coast Brewing Company in 2014.
Caspar, CA

Steve Kroes

Policy Consultant & Realtor

Steve has spent 30+ years in nonprofit management, public policy research and advocacy, and management consulting. He's also a real estate agent, with a special interest in the Sierra foothills near Sacramento (where he hopes to have his own small farm someday!)
Fair Oaks, CA

Judith Redmond

Full Belly Farm

Judith Redmond is an emeritus member of the CAFF Board. She spends her days as a farmer at Full Belly Farm in northern California, and as a volunteer for a number of community organizations including CAFF. She is currently involved with organizations like California Climate and Agriculture Network; U.C. Davis Ag Sustainability Institute; and AGree (Transforming Food and Ag Policy). She is a Fire Commissioner with the Capay Valley Volunteer Fire Department and on the steering committee of the Annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival hosted by Full Belly Farm.
Guinda, CA

Dawnie Andrak

CAFF Board Chair

Dawnie Andrak, board chair, is co-owner of Local Roots Food Tours, offering culinary diplomacy experiences. She graduated in 2017 with a Master of Arts, in the inaugural class of University of the Pacific’s Food Studies program. Dawnie is also a graduate of our Food Literacy Academy, as well as a graduate of the Center for Land Based Learning’s Farm Academy, a program for beginning farmers. Dawnie also founded and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Capitol WebWorks, LLC, an internet consulting firm specializing in political, governmental, association and nonprofit, and public affairs communications.
Sacramento, CA

George Davis

Farmer, Porter Creek Vineyard

Healdsburg, CA

Josefina Lara Chavez

Senior Manager, Latinx Farmer Programming & Farm to Market

Josefina was raised in the Salad Bowl of the United States, the Salinas Valley. She has a graduate degree in Public Administration, from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Through her work and volunteerism, she has served communities locally and internationally with social justice, equity, and love being at the root of it all. She is passionate about creating stronger connections between people, and is currently working on getting her farm off the ground.
Hollister, CA

Emma Torbert

Farmer, UC Davis Student Farm

Emma Torbert is the Market Garden manager for the Student Farm and started in September 2020. Before the Student Farm, Emma was one of the founding members of the Cloverleaf Farm, an organic fruit farm, and worked there for 10 years. She received her masters in Horticulture and Agronomy from UC Davis and worked for the Century Project at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility for seven years after graduating. She worked on organic farms throughout the US and South America, is committed to creating more equitable land access in the US and dreams of starting a co-housing farm one day.
Davis, CA
Pete Price
Sacramento, CA

In Memoriam: In 2020, we lost a friend, devoted CAFF board member and tireless champion in Sacramento fighting for family farms across the state. Pete Price served as CAFF’s legislative representative from 1998 to 2010 and joined the board in 2000 where he chaired the Policy Committee. Working to reform our food and agricultural system, Pete volunteered countless hours, always guided by an unwavering commitment to fairness, justice and sustainability. Learn more about Pete’s Legacy here or, to help us carry on his work here at CAFF, consider making a contribution here in his memory.

TAKE ACTION!

Have you called your elected representative lately? The most useful action you can take on legislation is to call the main office of the legislator you are seeking to influence, in either Sacramento or Washington DC. They’ll be ready to hear your perspective and take notes. Even a handful of calls on a specific bill may influence their vote.

HOW DO I CONTACT MY REPRESENTATIVE?

It’s easy to find out who represents you. Simply click below and enter your street address to access your representative’s website, phone number and address.

When you call, identify yourself as a constituent if you live in the district. Politicians are most interested in the opinions of their own voters. You may be asked for your zip code. (You can still call legislators who are not your personal representative, particularly if you are trying to influence a committee vote.)

You can also send your legislator an e-mail, or you can e-mail the staffer who is responsible for your issue. One call or email per issue and be clear and succinct!

FIND YOUR CALIFORNIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE

FIND YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE

CAFF’s Policy Team

CAFF’s Policy Team

Dave Runsten

Senior Policy Analyst

Endeavoring to keep small farmers farming through policy solutions in Sacramento and D.C.
CAFF’s Policy Team

Jamie Fanous

Senior Policy Advocate & Organizer

Working with farmers to create & advance policies rooted in farmer needs, social justice and equity
CAFF’s Policy Team

Paul Towers

Executive Director

Building a fair, responsive and democratic organization so California's family farmers can thrive

Dave Runsten

Senior Policy Analyst

Dave directs all of CAFF’s policy work as well as the food safety and water stewardship outreach. Dave is an agricultural economist who conducted research on such topics as contract agriculture in Mexico, fair trade coffee in Oaxaca, regional competitiveness of the produce industry, living wages in Los Angeles, and farm labor in California.

Jamie Fanous

Senior Policy Advocate & Organizer

Jamie works to advance policies rooted in farmer needs and engage farmers in developing those policies. Jamie has committed nearly 10 years to sustainable food and agriculture systems ranging from on-farm technical assistance, soil health and agriculture policy, to on-farm research and data management. She holds a MS in Agriculture, Food, and Environment, and a MA in Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Jamie is committed to developing sustainable agriculture policy rooted in social justice and equity.
Davis, CA

Paul Towers

Executive Director

Paul provides overall organizational leadership at CAFF, including staff management, programmatic strategy, and administrative and financial oversight. He previously worked at Pesticide Action Network North America, is a founder of the California Farmer Justice Collaborative, a founder of the California Food & Farming Network, and has engaged in policymaking and community organizing with agricultural communities for over fifteen years. He is originally from Southern Arizona (Tohono O'odham territory) and rooted in botany and agriculture in Southwestern deserts. Paul studied Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning at University of California - Davis and is a graduate of the Green Corps field school for environmental organizing.
Sacramento, CA (Nisenan territory)

CAFF Legislative Representation, Sacramento

Fearless Advocacy

CAFF Legislative Representation, Washington D.C.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition