First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s role in food and agriculture policy has been growing, according to comments made by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month.
The governor credited his wife (above) as well as billionaire hedge fund manager Kat Taylor for leading efforts behind a Farm to School Program, soon to be in its second year. Newsom proposed continuing the program with $10 million in grants to help schools procure California-grown foods. Taylor, meanwhile, has long advocated for organic foods and regenerative ag practices.
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Newsom mentioned his wife again for pushing “regenerative strategies” in soil management. The governor was describing the $30 million proposed for CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program, an initiative long championed by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. The department has been considering using some of those dollars to incentivize farmers to transition to organic practices.
In 2020 Agri-Pulse reported that both the first partner and governor appear to have ties to anti-pesticide activists in Ojai Vally. Newsom's own company has also moved away from using conventional pesticides, as it invests in organic farming practices for its wineries.
The Natural Resources Defense Council was also lobbying the administration in 2020 to support organic foods in the Farm to School Program.