Bond legislation intended to improve California’s food system was recently announced by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Ash Kalra. Assembly Bill 125 is a $3.122 billion bond measure aimed at economic recovery and addressing climate change and food insecurity. The Equitable Economic Recovery, Healthy Food Access, Climate Resilient Farms and Worker Protection Bond Act will fund multiple initiatives aimed at enhancing worker protection. If passed by the state Legislature, the bond measure would go on the November 2022 ballot.
“It is time for a better food system in our state—one that is more resilient, more sustainable, and more just,” Rivas said in a press release. “AB 125 is an investment in our future that will help spur our economy and rebuild our food and farming systems to be more equitable for all Californians, while protecting our environment and our farmlands, so California’s agricultural industry can remain competitive for many decades to come.”
The bond legislation seeks to advance economic recovery from the pandemic while strengthening California’s food supply chain. Investments would be made over a period of five years. A significant area of funding support would be directed at sustainable agricultural practices that combat climate change. A total of $1.135 billion would be invested to support conservation efforts, improve healthy soil initiatives, and address groundwater sustainability.
Additionally, the bond legislation calls for $750 million for investments in infrastructure aimed at combatting hunger. The approach seeks to improve food access through a variety of programs such as food banks, farmer’s markets, and school programs. A total of $600 million would be used for investments in regional food economies. The measure aims to improve regional food processing infrastructure, particularly with small- and medium-sized operations within the distribution sector. Some of the supporters of the legislation include California Certified Organic Farmers and the Center for Food Safety.