Multiple industry organizations have issued messages of support for AB 125. The legislation is aimed at helping California recover from the pandemic and support food and worker safety. The Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act was introduced by Assemblymember Robert Rivas. Sponsors of the bill include American Farmland Trust (AFT), the Center for Food Safety, Sustainable Agriculture Education, and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).
“Creating a more equitable and resilient food system in California is vitally important to our nation’s future,” California Regional Director for American Farmland Trust, Kara Heckert said in a press release. “AB 125 represents an integrated approach to addressing the many challenges that California agriculture faces by protecting our precious agricultural land, promoting sustainable agriculture and uplifting new and existing farmers that have been historically underserved.”
AB 125 invests $3.122 billion over five years towards protecting food system workers and enhancing food processing and market infrastructure. The legislation includes $477 million for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Funding would support grants for farmers and ranchers through the Healthy Soils Program as well as the Sustainable Water Enhancement and Efficient Program. Another $122.5 million in grants would be made possible through the California Farmland Conservancy Program. An additional $273 million would be made available for the California Department of Conservation. AB 125 also includes funding to support various nutrition programs and combat hunger through expanding access to health foods.
“This bond represents the largest investment in sustainable and organic agriculture in the state’s history,” CCOF CEO Kelly Damewood said in a news release. “By strengthening supply chains, investing in technical assistance, and supporting the transition to organic, this bond equips current and future organic farmers with the tools they need to provide Californians with healthy, climate-friendly food.”