CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said immigration reform “has to happen” and undocumented farmworkers should get legal status. She made her comments in a talk Thursday for the administration’s Climate Action Day summit.

“If we don't seize this moment and build trust between the employer and worker community to really improve the economy and the diversity of our economy going forward, shame on us,” she said.

Ross said the state has been implementing stronger farmworker protections for COVID-19 and should not return to the status quo once the pandemic is over.

She also noted that specialty crop growers have been impacted by climate change and many are interested in playing a role in mitigation.

“But at the end of the day, if farmers don't believe that they can help lead this change, and be the solution, it will be a challenge to bring all the farming community with us on this pathway,” she cautioned.

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On the note of climate policy, the governor’s office released a framework for investing state pension dollars into climate initiatives. Included in the report, the finance department recommends “green assets” like regenerative agriculture.

The governor also launched a volunteer climate initiative for Californians. Among the “household climate solutions,” it recommends planting trees, donating unused food and composting food waste.