Working together for a bright, bountiful future
By Paul Wenger, president, California Bountiful Foundation
To bridge the gap between consumers and those who produce, process and deliver food, fiber and horticultural products within our state, the California Farm Bureau has formed a new foundation called California Bountiful. The purpose of this new endeavor is to promote research and to educate as well as reach out to the general public in order to provide a better understanding of the many benefits our rural landscapes and natural resource industries provide to all our state’s residents.
If you live in California, you enjoy the widest array of fresh food products grown anywhere in the world. The great majority of the farms and ranches that produce these food products are family owned and operated, many spanning generations. In addition to producing the greatest variety of food products found anywhere in the world, working farms and ranches provide natural landscapes and habitat for a multitude of plant and animal species. In fact, 90 percent of endangered species co-exist within the open spaces of working farms and ranches. An additional benefit of farming is the trapping of carbon and turning it into oxygen through the photosynthesis process of growing plants and trees.
California Bountiful’s objective is to serve as a conduit to support producers within our state who provide our food, horticultural and timber products on a sustainable and renewable basis. The majority of residents of California have become far removed from that which has made California the Golden State – our natural resources. Our ability to provide a diversity of fresh food products as well as horticultural and timber products has allowed the consumers within our state to enjoy a standard of living that many now take for granted.
The strategy in organizing the California Bountiful Foundation is to raise funds through a charitable organization to be directed toward defining and disseminating the economic and environmental benefits of our farm, ranch and natural resource community. If we fail to promote the research, education and outreach beyond those who are responsible for producing it, the bounty that has contributed to the economic foundation of our state could be lost forever.
California Bountiful will utilize the unique, dynamic and genuine examples and stories of California’s past and present, to promote a healthy and productive future not only for our farm, ranch and natural resource communities, but our entire state that depends upon them.