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Working for Justice in the Valley: People, Food, Land & Water
UC Merced, Crescent Arch Room
Merced, CA
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**Please note: We have reached our max number of tickets available for this event, and are creating a wait list. We do anticipate a small number of tickets will become available. Please either call Sarah Cain at (530) 756-6555 ext19, or email her at to be added to this list. Thank You!**

"Working for Justice in the Valley: People, Food, Land & Water" is a Rural California Summit for Action, which will be hosted on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 by California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) at UC Merced in collaboration with the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative and the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI).

The one-day summit is designed to create dialogue between researchers and community members about historic and current struggles for access to resources in the Valley. Moving from theory to action, we will discuss the tools needed for community based research and the politics of social change.

Speakers will cover a range of topics related to our theme of Working for Justice in the Valley, including access to farm land, cooperative farming and marketing structures, rights to clean drinking water, food access, public health (including pesticide drift and pesticide use around schools), access to basic built infrastructure by farm-worker communities, and community engagement.

The morning session will focus on struggles for access to resources related to the food system in the Valley (historically and currently) and the afternoon session will focus on tools for action including research and political advocacy.  


Check-in & Breakfast

Intro to Topic & Welcome - Mario Sifuentez, Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, UC Merced

Goal of Day - Michael Courville, Co-Executive Director, California Institute for Rural Studies

Morning Theme: Struggles for Access to Resources in the Valley

Cal Ag Roots Story Listening Session: National Land for People Story & Conversation with NLP Members

This live performance of the Cal Ag Roots podcast will tell the story of the Fresno-based organization National Land for People (NLP), and their battle to enforce water laws that would have limited the size of farms in the Valley and made prime farmland available to farmworkers and small farmers. This will be followed by a discussion with people featured in the story about NLPs relevance to current work in the Valley.

- Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, Project Director, Cal Ag Roots (CIRS)
- Mary Louise Frampton, Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law/NLP Member
- Marc lasher, NLP Member
- John Heywood, Executive Director, People Food and Land Foundation
- Tom Willey, Organic Farmer, T&D Willey Farms, Madera

Thriving Food Justice Work in the Valley and Current Organizing Efforts

This panel will describe some of the current food justice work underway in the San Joaquin Valley, including a new sustainable agriculture collaborative, and community food systems work.

- Janaki Jagannath, Coordinator, San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Ag Collaborative
- Kevin Hall, Consultant, San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Ag Collaborative
- Sarah Aird, Co-Director, Californians for Pesticide Reform
- Margaret Reeves, Senior Scientist, Pesticide Action Network
- Paul Towers, Organizing & Media Director, Pesticide Action Network
- Kiel Schmidt, Business Development Manager, Fresno Food Commons

12-1pm Lunch (provided)

Afternoon Theme: Tools for Action

Framing for the Afternoon - Michael Courville, CIRS

Political Advocacy and Exercising Community Power

Political empowerment is both a means and an end to increasing equity in the Valley. In this session, we'll hear from local and state policy experts on how solid research results and community needs can be translated into long-lasting policy change and political empowerment. This session will be interactive and you'll leave with tangible tools to apply immediately.

- Nina F. Ichikawa, Policy Director, Berkeley Food Institute
- Erica Lomeli Corcoran, Civic Participation and Policy Director, UFW Foundation
- Sarah Ramirez, Executive Director, Foodlink Tulare County

Land Grant System and UC Merced - Make it Work for the Community

As part of the land grant system, the University of California has a mission to serve the public good. This session will briefly describe this mandate and the UCs historic and current role as a tool for community action.

- Daniel O'Connell, Co-Director, Fresno Food Commons

Research-Engaged Activism: Why Good Research is Vital to Powerful Organizing & How Communities Can Engage with Researchers

We'll ask researchers and organizers to talk to each other about two complementary questions: How can research support organizing around food systems change? What do organizers need from researchers? What can researchers learn from organizers? Conversation facilitated by Ildi Carlisle-Cummins and Janaki Jagannath.
- Don Villarejo, Independent Researcher & Founder, California Institute for Rural Studies
- Mario Sifuentez, Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, UC Merced
- Dvera Saxton, Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department, California State University, Fresno
- Isabel Arrollo, Executive Director, El Quinto Sol de America
- Leticia Corona, Community Advocacy Director, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
- Genoveva Islas, Director, Cultiva La Salud                                    
-Chukou Thao, Executive Director, National Hmong American Farmers, Inc

Rural California Open Roundtable
In breakout-session style, participants will suggest topics that they'd like to discuss and host small group discussions on them.

Closing Thoughts & Call to Action - Gail Wadsworth, Co-Executive Director, California Institute for Rural Studies

Please go to for the most up to date schedule!
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UC Merced, Crescent Arch Room (View)
5200 Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
United States


Education > Workshops

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: California Institute for Rural Studies
On BPT Since: Jan 27, 2016
Sarah Cain
530-756-6555 ext 19

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