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Pajaro Valley Community Survey Identifies Organic Food as Climate Change Response

by Jane Sooby |

CCOF Central Coast Chapter President Javier Zamora of JSM Organics was one of the featured panelists in the Climate of Hope Online Forum organized by Regeneración Pajaro Valley Climate Action, a climate justice organization based in Watsonville, California. 

The Climate of Hope forum gathered experts to discuss how climate change is affecting agricultural communities, with a focus on farmworkers in the Central Coast’s Pajaro Valley. 

California State University, Monterey Bay students presented the results of a community survey on climate change sponsored by Regeneración which found “the number one initiative favored to reduce pollution and/or greenhouse gas emissions was increasing access to local organic agriculture.”

Zamora, broadcasting directly from one of his fields, talked about the importance of his organic farm in providing employment and healthy food for the community as well as improving soil health and the environment.

Panelist Claudia Pineda Tibbs—an environmental educator who blogs as La Eco Latina—also raised the importance of community members having access to fresh organic fruits and vegetables and pointed out that organic food is better for people working in the ag community, characterizing exposure to synthetic pesticides as an equity issue. 

Pesticides ranked second highest as the form of pollution negatively affecting people (59%), while litter came in as the top form of pollution negatively impacting the community.

The forum, which was simultaneously translated into Spanish, also focused on the impacts of heat on farmworker health. Dr. Flavio Cornejo of Salud Para la Gente Clinic in Watsonville that serves farmworkers and their families presented information on the effects of heat on the human body.

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) gave the closing keynote, pointing out that climate change has a disproportionate impact on low income and minority communities. Assemblymember Rivas remarked that advocacy makes a huge difference and encouraged people to get involved.