Dr. Charisma Acey at UC Center Sacramento: “Planning for Food Justice”
In a lecture at UC Center Sacramento, BFI Faculty Director Charisma Acey explores food policies and strategies implemented as a result of SB 1000 — and how this state law can be leveraged by community members to fight for food justice through the city planning process.
On October 4, BFI Faculty Director Charisma Acey traveled to UC Center Sacramento to deliver a lecture titled “Planning for Food Justice: Advancing Equity and Food Access in Land Use Planning Through California’s SB 1000.” Her lecture covered preliminary research and recommendations on California’s Senate Bill 1000: The Planning for Healthy Communities Act, which was passed in 2016 to incorporate environmental justice in land use planning.
In the US, zoning and planning choices have disproportionately exposed low-income and minority neighborhoods to environmental hazards while limiting their access to crucial resources like public green spaces, affordable housing, and fresh food. The City of Jurupa Valley’s adoption of an “Environmental Justice Element”—or “EJ element”—in their General Plan, following legal action by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, marked a turning point. This local initiative evolved into state law with SB 1000, requiring cities and counties with “disadvantaged communities” to integrate an environmental justice element into their General Plan.
An Associate Professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Acey launched a research project assessing SB 1000 implementation throughout the state and how this law has advanced food access policies based on equity and justice. You can watch the full lecture from UC Center Sacramento below.
Acey’s lecture coincided with the release of BFI’s research report Planning for Food Justice: Advancing Equity in City and County General Plans Through California’s Senate Bill 1000, which outlines this research and lists seven recommendations to the state of California and to city and county planners. This report was coauthored by Susana Matias, Co-Associate Faculty Director and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at UC Berkeley, and Katherine Fallon, a recent Master of City Planning graduate of the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design.
UC Center Sacramento also published a one-page policy brief summarizing the research and recommendations. Both documents can be downloaded below.
Charisma Acey was accompanied to Sacramento by members of BFI staff and a select group of UC Berkeley students, many from Acey’s course “Planning for Sustainability.” After the lecture, BFI Community Engagement Program Manager Nathalie A. Muñoz organized a roundtable discussion with Ujamaa Farmer Collective, a Sacramento-based farm business cooperative comprised of Nathaniel Brown of Brown Sugar Farm, Keith and Richelle Hudson of Grocery Croppers, and Nelson Hawkins of We Grow Urban Farm. The collective is on a mission to “secure land tenure and equitable access to resources for historically underserved farmers of color.” According to the farmers, land tenure is the biggest challenge facing young, small-scale farmers, particularly farmers of color.
This year, Ujamaa Farmer Collective received funds through the state budget to acquire a 60-100 acre parcel of land in Yolo County, where they will build their cooperative farm business to grow food for their community, educate other farmers through farm-to-farm training. They are continuing to fundraise to support the cooperative.
With the students, Nate Brown, Keith Hudson, and Richelle Hudson shared their perspectives on land tenure, tool-sharing, food justice, and how they have connected with the land through farming and policy advocacy.