Tuesday October 28th, 2014
With the November elections fast approaching, Kern Food Policy Council (KFPC) and the Kern Chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) took a series of questions to 16 candidates hoping to represent Kern residents in both Sacramento and Washington, DC, in the next legislative term. Six candidates responded, their answers showing that while consensus exists around the critical nature of the issues faced by our region, there is little common ground on how to move forward. The idea for the questions was first introduced by the California Food Policy Council (CAFPC), a network of 22 local councils committed to the creation of sustainable food systems throughout the state. Originally, the CAFPC generated 20 questions. The KFPC and LWV narrowed down the list to four:
- Nearly a quarter of Kern’s population (24.4%) is at or below the federal poverty level, according to the California Poverty Measure, but ranks 23 in the state in terms of eligible residents’ utilization of CalFresh—an estimated loss of $73.6 Million in federal nutrition benefits. What policies would you support to boost participation among the currently eligible population for a program that has a $1.79 economic multiplier for every $1 spent?
- California’s current three-year drought is the worst in at least 100 years. Consequently 428,000 acres have been fallowed, and over 17,000 jobs lost. What policies would you propose to build on-farm resilience in the face of climate change and a more sustainable use of Kern’s water?
- We estimate that 17.2% of the California’s workforce is in the food system, including production, processing, distribution, retail, and service industries. According to the KEDC, nearly a quarter (24%) of Kern’s private sector jobs are food system-related, yet many of the workers are undervalued and are more likely to experience substandard working conditions. What labor issues in the food chain are you most concerned with, and how would you address them?
- The Kern Food Policy Council is pursuing the creation of a comprehensive, county-wide food system assessment that will help us create new relationships between policy and action, as well as explore the potential for community-based pilot projects directly addressing the physical and economic health and well-being of Kern County residents. In what ways, if any, would you support this effort?
Click the button next to each Candidate to read his or her response: