The Farmland Working Group is celebrating a decade of promoting smart growth and farmland protection in our local region of the Great Central Valley of California – the most productive agricultural region the world has ever known!
Our board has never lost sight of our mission: to preserve the agricultural foundation of our region and promote smart growth in our urban communities through education, outreach and action. As we begin our second decade, FWG recognizes that our work is more important than ever.
In 1999, after becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, our board recognized that educating the next generation of voters would be one of our important goals. We developed a video that would be appropriate for high school students. The sixteen minute video A Vision and a Legacy has been re mastered and is now on DVD. In that same year, we started our High School Program at Ceres High School. Mr. Karl Nielsen, History Department Chair, used our video as part of the senior history curriculum. Today, our High School Program is in high schools throughout Stanislaus County.
To build upon our High School Program, our board initiated a scholarship program in 2005. Every high school in Stanislaus and Merced Counties receives our scholarship application.
Staying on top of local planning issues is our passion. To help us tell our story, Farmland Working Group produces a newsletter three times a year. It contains current articles about farmland protection, smart growth and land use. Our “We’re Watching” segment keeps an eye on land use at the city and county levels and provides the reader important contact information.
Rudy Platzek, a charter member of FWG and considered by many the Paul Revere of farmland protection in the Central Valley, keeps his eye on our mission and reminds FWG board members that the steady drip of information is key to farmland protection. Our community advocates are committed to informing planning commissions, city councils and boards of supervisors of farmland protection tools as well as short-sighted land use planning.
Never before has our mission been more important. In an effort to maintain the steady drip, FWG is expanding our Advocacy Committee. Our board is proud to announce new directors who will be active on our Advocacy Committee: Ron Freitas, former Director of Development, Stanislaus County; E. Timothy Parker, former Council Member, City of Newman; Phil Rockey, former Council Member, City of Oakdale. Also joining our board is Jojo Espiritu and Allen Gammon from Riverbank.
After a decade as Chair of Farmland Working Group, I am passing the gavel to Denny Jackman. I will be active, as always, and you can read my op-ed articles, letters to the editor and hear my comments at city council and county board meetings!
I don’t want to see Stanislaus County become another Los Angeles County. I want to see this region producing food in the 22nd Century – If not here, where? – Jeani Ferrari
Farmland Working Group
STRIVING TO PROTECT FOOD, FAMILIES AND FARMLAND
Our Mission: To preserve the agricultural foundation of our region and promote smart growth in our urban communities through education, outreach and action.