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Local farmers share what is next for the Coachella Valley agriculture industry

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and some local agricultural workers are celebrating the signing of the bill, California Grown. The bill is also called AB 778. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 27, requiring state-owned institutions to target 60% of their food product purchases to be California grown or produced. News Channel 3 covered the press conference where farm working families shared their perspectives on what agriculture meant to the valley.

“We worked together with our Coachella Valley farmers on this legislation, strategizing solutions to protect local agricultural businesses and jobs. Buying California grown produce supports our farmers, farmworkers, and the economies of rural, agricultural areas like ours that have been experiencing hardships. Ensuring that our state institutions direct their purchasing power to buy California grown agricultural products will go a long way in accomplishing this goal.”

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella)

Here are some facts from the Coachella Valley Water District: (Agricultural Irrigation and Drainage)

AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY

  • Second largest contributor to the local economy.
  • Contributes nearly one billion dollars annually to the local economy.
  • Creates roughly 12,000 jobs.

AGRICULTURAL SIZE

  • 137,416 acres in CVWD's service area
  • 62,648 acres are irrigated, including double cropping
  • 53,637 acres are commercially farmed
  • 8,500 acres is multi cropped

"California spends nearly $300 million every single year on food purchases for use within California institutions," said George Tudor, the President and founder of Growing Coachella Valley and owner of the Tudor Farm, at the Press Conference. Tudor has worked on the bill with some other local agricultural workers from start to finish. "It was a good feeling to see that we did something that hopefully will help," says Tudor. "And that I think will help, and, you know, the Assembly Member has said that he'd like to keep this going and keep fighting." Even though Tudor has been in this fight from the start of this bill, he believes the state and local agricultural leaders will need to do more.

"I don't think, unfortunately, this bill will This valley will see much impact but like I do believe that agriculture as a whole," says Tudor. "This bill will help along with SB 490. And we hope to continue the conversation and talk about what California Retailers can do to support California farming and farm workers as well as you know the state continuing to support farm workers and farmer California farmer policies,".

AB 778 is expected to go into effect on January 1.

    State-run institutions such as hospitals and prisons must implement necessary practices to achieve a goal of at least 60 percent of the agricultural food products it purchases in a calendar year that are grown or produced in the state by December 31, 2025.

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Miyoshi Price

Miyoshi joined KESQ News Channel 3 in April 2022. Learn more about Miyoshi here.

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