Cultivating a Sustainable San Joaquin Valley: How to Build Power and Win Systemic Change Across Movements

March 31, 2015 9:00 AM | Dana Kawaoka-Chen (Administrator)

The San Joaquin Valley (also referred to as “SJV” and “the Valley”) is recognized as the “food basket of the nation” due to its leadership and record-breaking revenues in agricultural production; meanwhile, it is also a region with poverty and pollution levels that rival the hardest hit areas
in California and the nation. The cities of the SJV have the worst air quality in the U.S., its groundwater is widely contaminated and being so rapidly depleted that parts of the area are literally sinking about a foot per year, and it has some of the state’s highest poverty rates.

Politically, SJV representatives have the potential to transform—or block—California’s ability to pass progressive public policy. Faced with a political landscape has remained incredibly challenging over time, local communities and organizations have over 40 years of successful organizing and movement building expertise in the SJV and are now poised to escalate our political power and influence to more effectively catalyze greater change regionally and statewide. As the 2016 elections rapidly approach, Valley groups recognize the need for urgent action to build power.

The time to invest in change is now. The author organizations are committed to creating a sustainable food system, yet this paper consciously and explicitly does not focus on advocacy around a particular set of issues or policy solutions; rather, our goal is to outline the strategies and tactics that will build significant power in the SJV to produce the political shifts necessary to catalyze
change across all issues.

San Joaquin Valley Power Building Report 2014.pdf

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