SACRAMENTO – Nutrition, education and food safety took top billing at the State Capitol today as the California Women for Agriculture (CWA), working along with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), hosted California Ag Day today at the State Capitol.
The event featured the first annual Capitol Cook-Off competition between four teams of California high school students using California-grown agricultural products, along with the skills they have learned in their home economics and technology studies. The curriculum includes instruction in food science, dietetics, nutrition and food service. Participating schools were Cesar Chavez High School (Delano), Wilcox High School (Santa Clara), Mt. Diablo High School (Concord) and Pleasant Valley High School (Chico).
The celebration also featured 35 booths distributing samples of California commodities and information about the many challenges facing agriculture.
“This is a day of celebration for California agriculture,” said CWA President Jeri Hansen.” It provides a great opportunity to show our fellow Californians how farmers and ranchers contribute to our quality of life. This event gives us a chance to educate the public about some of the challenges facing agriculture in the Golden State.”
The conversion of California’s farm and ranch lands for non-farm uses has contributed to the state’s increased dependence upon imported food. About 3.7 million acres of land in farms were lost between 1990 and 2003. The increased imports have increased California agriculture’s vulnerability to exotic pests and diseases that can be transported along with imported fruits, vegetables and other commodities.
“The quality, quantity and variety of the food supply provided by California agriculture are unmatched anywhere in the world,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “Agriculture is a resource worth protecting, whether the threat is a new disease, an invasive pest, or simply the gradual loss of our prized farmland to urbanizing communities.”
The Ag Day festivities are part of National Agriculture Week, which runs until March 19.
CDFA Ag Day 05 Press Kit (PDF, 149 KB)
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814