"Working for Justice in the Valley: People, Food, Land & Water" is a Rural California Summit for Action, which will be hosted on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 by California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) at UC Merced in collaboration with the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative and the Berkeley Food Institute (BFI).
The one-day summit is designed to create dialogue between researchers and community members about historic and current struggles for access to resources in the Valley. Moving from theory to action, we will discuss the tools needed for community based research and the politics of social change.
In the morning session, participants will hear a Cal Ag Roots story about an activist group fighting to enforce water law in the Valley in the 1970's and about current activism in the Valley around access to resources. In the afternoon, we will discuss tools that communities can use for action, including partnering with researchers to document pressing issues and creating policy change.
As part of the afternoon session on Tools for Action, CIRS will be facilitating a conversation between researchers and organizers about why good research is vital to powerful organizing and how communities can engage with researchers. This conversation will focus on two complementary questions: How can research support organizing? What do organizers need from researchers? This session will be set up as an opportunity for organizers to interview researchers in front of the summit audience. The organizers and researchers will all do brief introductions, but the majority of the hour and a half session will be spent in conversation with one another about ways they can work together.
Schedule (with speakers and panelists to be added as they are confirmed):
Registration & Breakfast
Opening Thoughts -- Intro to Topic & Welcome - Mario Sifuentez, UC Merced
Goal of Day -- Michael Courville, California Institute for Rural Studies
9:45-12:00pm Morning Theme: Struggles for Access to Resources in the Valley
9:45-10:45am Cal Ag Roots Story Listening Session: National Land for the People Story & Conversation with NLP Members
11-12pm Thriving Food Justice Work in the Valley and Current Organizing Efforts
12:00- 1:00pm Lunch
Afternoon Theme: Tools for Action
1:00-1:10 Framing for the Afternoon - CIRS Staff
1:10-2:00 Political Advocacy and Exercising Community Power Nina Ichikawa, Maria Echaveste, Sarah Ramirez
Political empowerment is both a means and an end to increasing equity in the Valley. In this session, we'll hear from seasoned political organizer, lawyer and advocate Maria Echaveste of UC Berkeley as well as partners from the Berkeley Food Institute on how solid research results and community needs can be translated into long-lasting policy change and political empowerment. This session will be interactive and you'll leave with tangible tools to apply immediately.
2:00-2:20 Land Grant System and UC Merced - Make it Work for the Community -- Dan O'Connell
2:25-4pm Research-Engaged Activism: Why Good Research is Vital to Powerful Organizing and How Communities Can Engage with Researchers.
Focus is on these two complementary questions: How can research support organizing? What do organizers need from researchers? This session will be set up as an opportunity for organizers to interview researchers in front of the summit audience.
Researchers include Don Villarejo (Founder of California Institute for Rural Studies), Michael Courville (Current Co-Executive Director of CIRS), Dvera Saxton (Cal State Fresno) and Mario Sifuentez (UC Merced).
The organizers will be drawn from the San Joaquin Valley Sustainable Agriculture Collaborative, which has been focused on environmental justice work, and will include Janaki Jagannath (formerly from CRLA, now coordinating the Collaborative).
4-5pm Rural California Open Roundtable
In breakout-session style, participants suggest topics that they'd like to discuss and host small roundtable discussions on them.
5-5:30 Closing Thoughts & Call to Action - Gail Wadsworth, California Institute for Rural Studies
Please go to http://www.cirsinc.org/events for the most up to date schedule!