Organic farmers face a unique set of challenges, many of which revolve around the critical issue of labor. As I delved into the CCOF Labor Survey, a common theme emerged—a call for a guest worker program that supports the needs of both farmers and farmworkers. CCOF members vocalized the need for a guest worker program that is accessible, especially for small-scale farmers, and that supports the livelihoods of farmworkers.
(Apolinar next to bean plants at his farm in Watsonville, California)
Farmers are an essential part of their communities. Apolinar “Poli” Yerena, owner of Yerena Farms, has been farming organically in the Watsonville community since 2010. For Poli, farming is more than a business, it is a way of life.
Organic Transition Grantee Alejandro Salazar installs an irrigation pipe by hand with his daughter, Fatima Salazar.
Labor is one of the challenges we hear the most about. Organic producers make a commitment to grow and raise food using ecological methods, and one of the trade-offs is that organic farms have higher labor demands to maintain such practices. To dive deeper into the challenges organic producers are facing, I’ve surveyed organic producers across crop type, scale, and geography.
California Assembly Bill 408—the Climate-Resilient Farms, Sustainable Healthy Food Access, and Farmworker Protection Bond Act of 2024—was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee on July 3, 2023. The bill, which is authored by Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) and Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael), proposes a $3.4 billion bond to fund programs that support resilient agriculture and healthy food access in California.
The bond would be used to fund projects in four areas:
We know that labor is often the biggest expense on the farm. We are looking to better understand issues producers are facing with labor. We are offering a $25 stipend to organic producers who participate in our survey. The online survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and can be found at https://forms.office.com/r/fV3jYLMaK5.
Please contact Jessica Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
We know that labor is often the biggest expense on the farm. We are looking to better understand what issues producers are facing with labor. We are offering a $25 stipend to organic producers who participate in our survey. The online survey should take no more than 30 minutes to complete and can be found at https://forms.office.com/r/fV3jYLMaK5.