Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

farmers

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California farmers and environmental justice leaders are joining forces to support a bill that would help fund a clean drinking water program.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A new bill unanimously approved by the Assembly Agricultural Committee Wednesday could significantly alter the way the California Department of Food and Agriculture works with farmers of color. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The USDA is hoping to encourage more African Americans to take up careers in agriculture. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from an outreach event held today in Fresno.

The small USDA office in West Fresno was packed with more than 40 African American people ready to learn how to make their farming dreams a reality. The event is part of the USDA’s efforts to attract minorities and young people into farming professions.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Drive anywhere in Central California and you’ll see fields of almonds.  Some people wonder if the growth of the almond industry is sustainable. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the price of the nut just may have met a slippery slope.

  

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Unified is teaming up with small farmers in the Central Valley to provide local fruits and vegetables to kids. Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera has more.

Students at the Vang Pao Elementary school in southeast Fresno were greeted by a food stand on campus Thursday.

Children and parents lined up looking at all the fruits and vegetables including cherries, zucchini, and oranges.

Genoveva Islas, with Cultiva La Salud which means Cultivate your Health, says this is an effort to bring healthy local food to a struggling community.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Hmong farmers from all over the country met in Fresno today to discuss current challenges, seek services and share farming tips. Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera reports how the group is now reaching other minority communities hoping to transcend cultural boundaries.

Hmong American farmers have held this type of conference for the last five years. It’s a place where small farmers can find the support and services they’re looking for. But now, it’s reaching farmers beyond the Hmong community. They’re joining forces with Latinos.

Chukou Thao spearheaded the movement.

Governor Jerry Brown announced Wednesday the first mandatory water restrictions in the Golden State’s history. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports on how farmers in the Central Valley are reacting to the plan.

With the lowest snow pack in history Governor Jerry Brown says the drought demands unprecedented action. He’s mandating new conservation methods including new agricultural water use reporting guidelines.

Cannon Michael farms 10,000 acres of tomatoes and corn in Central California. He says the impacts on agriculture from the edict are limited.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Many small farmers have success selling their produce at farmers markets, but selling to larger food distributors can be difficult. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on a new project that hopes to connect one group of Southeast Asian growers with Bay Area buyers.

    

Small Hmong farms dot Fresno County growing specialty crops like the red date jujube, lemon grass and bitter melon. But more often than not, these farmers lack the resources and the know how to get their produce to larger markets.  

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Many California agricultural workers aren’t employed directly by farmers, but by labor contractors. Now a new bill in the California legislature would bring about more protections for those workers, but as FM89’s Kerry Klein reports, it’s also the source of controversy.

-----

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

 

A coalition of environmental groups announced Wednesday that it is suing the Bureau of Reclamation over its proposal to send water from northern California to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

The water transfers would involve pumping over 175,000 acre-feet of water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, home to the endangered delta smelt and other fragile aquatic species.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about a new ranking of environmental health in California that shows many Fresno County neighborhoods rank among the worst in the state, drought on the farm, the Armenian Genocide and Kessab Armenians, plus a look at Fresno's Historic Preservation Week