In March of this year, an Empire State Building-sized cargo ship infamously lodged itself in the Suez Canal. But while the world watched as engineers scrambled to remove this gargantuan threat to a multi-billion dollar supply chain, CAFF was back home planting seeds for local resilience. As nearly 400 equally colossal boats panicked in queue behind that floating global bottleneck, our members throughout California were helping to push forward a bill that would invest $15 million in Community Food Hubs.
This bill, just one of many that CAFF successfully advocated for in 2021, will help create hubs that aggregate not from the far-flung reaches of the world, but from nearby family farms, and help distribute this healthy food to families, schools, businesses and hospitals.
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“Food Hubs ensure that schools and other institutions can support the growers in their local economies that, in turn, support them with tax dollars,” says CAFF member Shayne Zurilgen of Fiery Ginger Farm near Sacramento. “Food hubs provide a nearby market that reduces the distance farmers have to travel to sell produce which reduces greenhouse gas and helps build a sustainable business.”
All spring and summer, CAFF arranged meetings between farmers and lawmakers, pushing for more support of small farms, regenerative agriculture and making local food accessible to more people. The result: tens of millions of dollars in state funds for programs that reduce pesticides, train beginning farmers, and assist farmers from under-served communities.
While the plight of that oversized boat and its 20,000 shipping containers did finally come to an end, our country’s supply chain woes have not. And yet, crisis after crisis, our local farmers grew food for their communities.