Fostering Resilience and Health of Food Systems in the Face of Drought

Monday, April 13, 2015, 2 – 6pm
Tamalpais Room, David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way at Oxford Street

Panel 1: Farming Practices to Reduce Risk Tied to Drought

Panel 2: Ensuring Health and Livelihoods of Communities and Farmworkers Facing Drought Impacts


Critical drought conditions and extreme climate fluctuations are seriously threatening food systems in many regions, hindering the livelihoods and health of farmers, farmworkers and rural communities in the U.S. and internationally. The impacts of resource-related problems have escalated into major emergencies, including poverty, unemployment, ill health, and hunger, as illustrated by the recent California drought. This forum will identify strategies and practices that foster resilient and healthy food systems*, by enabling vulnerable farmers, farmworkers, and communities to build buffers against drought, plan for climate change and implement more sustainable approaches. The speakers will identify practices such as water and soil management methods, diversification of crops that help to deal with climate extremes, and private and public programs to support their implementation. They will also discuss strategies to protect the health and socio-economic stability of rural communities affected by drought and climate change. While the forum will focus on conditions in California’s main agriculture regions, it will have broader implications.

Introduction: Ann Thrupp, Executive Director, Berkeley Food Institute

Panel 1: Farming Practices to Reduce Risk Tied to Drought

  • Renata Brillinger, Executive Director, California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)
  • John Diener, Owner, Red Rock Ranch
  • Jeff Mitchell, Cropping Systems Specialist, UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis
  • Moderator: Craig McNamara, President, Sierra Orchards; President, California State Board of Food and Agriculture

Panel 2: Ensuring Health and Livelihoods of Communities and Farmworkers Facing Drought Impacts

  • Janaki Jagannath, Community Legal Worker, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
  • Sarah Ramirez, Executive Director, FoodLink, Tulare County
  • Jenny Rempel, Communications and Development Coordinator, Community Water Center
  • Moderator: Maria Echaveste, Policy and Program Development Director, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, UC Berkeley

Reception to follow.

Cosponsored by The California Endowment, with the College of Environmental Design and School of Public Health, UC Berkeley.

Free and open to the public. This event is part of the BFI Food Exchange Series.

*Resilience refers to the capability of food production systems – and of people dependent on food systems – to respond effectively to changes in the environment and in socio-economic conditions; and the capacity of food systems to recover from stresses, and to ensure sustainability over time. Health encompasses wellness and well-being of people in all aspects of the food system through access to sufficient and nutritious food; absence of disease or ill-health associated with lack of adequate/appropriate foods or inadequate working conditions; and also health of ecosystems, soil, plants, animals, and natural resources in farms.