Land Use and Agriculture
With roots in historic misalignment of land-use planning and infrastructure development in California, modern-day communities of the San Joaquin Valley and other intensively farmed areas of the state that have served as the backbone of the agricultural industry are often dealing with vulnerable and contaminated water supplies, burdened septic systems, lack of affordable housing, lack of street-lighting, sidewalks, public space and other basic necessities. Often these communities are located adjacent to agricultural fields and packing houses that have historically been the source of labor. This economic cycle combined with political disenfranchisement through land-use planning at the municipal and county levels leaves many communities on the frontlines of pollution and climate-change impacts.
Due to necessity and keen inclination toward innovation, San Joaquin Valley disadvantaged unincorporated communities are the site of forward thinking around water conservation, community governance, local food production, and transportation. Without assistance from government, residents participate in gray-water catchment, community and home-gardening, ride-sharing and other positive solutions that can serve as lessons for the state in planning for California's future. CAFA members works alongside the resident communities to protect existing settlements from the impacts of conventional agriculture on their homes and livelihoods, while engaging them in sustainable agriculture policy development for clean jobs and thriving towns.