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Issue Brief: Fracking and the Food System

The Nation: Fracking and Our Food Supply

Take Part: Can Fracking and Farming Mix in America's Biggest Ag State?

California Farmers Join Together to Fight Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a highly controversial process of extracting oil and gas that has raised serious environmental and public health concerns across the country.

Fracking has been taking place in California, the nation’s leading farm state, for several decades without clear regulatory oversight. Now, the Monterey Shale — a 1,750-square-mile area believed to hold as much as 15 billion barrels of crude oil — is being targeted for a new, more intensive form of fracking and other extreme extraction methods, putting California’s scarce and precious water resources and most prized farmland at serious risk.

In states already experiencing rampant fracking operations, leaks and spills have damaged crops, killed livestock and sickened the people near drilling operations, which are commonly found in agricultural communities that grow our food.

Farmers, ranchers and food producers rely on California's prized natural bounty to make a living and, quite literally, feed the world, and we cannot stand by and allow the same fate to befall California’s unparalleled food shed.

If you are a California farmer who cares about the provenance of our food, the stewardship of our land and the future of our state’s health, please sign this important petition calling on Governor Brown to place a moratorium on fracking now.


Farmers’ Petition In Support of a Fracking Moratorium in California

Dear Governor Brown:

We, the undersigned, are members of California’s agricultural community and are concerned about the potential impacts of fracking on our livelihoods. We are aware that the oil industry is planning to expand fracking throughout California to places where there has been robust agricultural production. Because of the potential risks to this production, we urge you to place a moratorium on fracking and to undertake a comprehensive study on fracking’s potential impacts to California’s water, air and soil.

The expansion of fracking in California will demand large volumes of water that could come at the expense of agricultural operations. Farmers across California are already coming to grips with dwindling water supplies and could lose additional supplies to contamination from fracking operations. Fracking operations immediately pollute water by mixing it with up to 500 toxic chemicals to induce the fracturing of the rock. It is estimated that each frack job uses between 500,000 and 3,000,000 gallons of water, which becomes polluted and is removed from the hydrological cycle.

In addition to supply, the global demand for California’s oil will likely increase the price of water to the detriment of farmers. Many small and mid-sized farmers will not be able to compete for water versus large multinational oil companies that are willing to pay much higher prices. Oil companies have already begun outbidding farmers in California, Colorado and other states for water supply. Without a reliable water supply, many farmers could be pushed out of farming.

The expansion of fracking could worsen groundwater pollution. Contamination can occur from methane and toxic fracking chemicals, as well as from the transportation and disposal of toxic — and at times even radioactive — wastewater. Once it occurs, it could be impossible or extremely expensive to clean up. Industry documents show that drilling wells routinely fail, and that old drilling wells can serve as conduits for pollution to spread across a wide area. Nationwide, there have been over 1,000 cases of groundwater contamination from drilling. In Shafter, Occidental Petroleum Corporation was recently caught on video dumping fracking fluids next to an almond orchard in violation of California law.

This is of great concern to our community because agricultural production and related activities rely on clean water and soil free of toxins. It would be a grave mistake to allow fracking to proceed unabated and to deal with the consequences later. Thus, we call on you to implement a moratorium now in order to responsibly protect California’s water and agricultural industry.


Tom Frantz, Almond Farmer Shafter, CA

Add Your Name

If you are a California chef, restaurant owner, brewer, winemaker, purveyor, food retailer, cookbook author or cooking educator, please sign this petition.

If you are not a farmer or a food producer, please sign the petition to ban fracking in Calfornia as a resident of Califoria.




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Donna Pacheco — Achadinha Cheese Company, Petaluma
Nancy Van Tassel — Adagio Olive Farms, San Miguel
Moira Burke — Agricola: flora et fauna, Dixon
Tim Bates — Apple Farm/Bates & Schmitt, Philo
Shanale Allen — Ashland/Cherryland Food Policy, San Leandro
Efren Avalos — Avalos Organic Farm, Hollister
Amber Balakian — Balakian Farms, Reedley
Clarence Robinson — Balakian Farms, Reedley
Ginger Balakian — Balakian Farms, Reedley
Stella Balakian — Balakian Farms, Reedley
Robert Lee May — Banner Grange #627, Nevada City
Sarah Worley — Been Wench Farm, Paso Robles
Bryce Loewen — Blossom Bluff Orchards, Parlier
Faith Collins — Bluebird Farm, Yuba City
Tracy Graves — Bodie Ranch, Acampo
Ruth Madocks — Branch Mill Organic Farm, Arroyo Grande
Matt Scott — Brokaw Nursery, Watsonville
Bruce Broderick — Buttonwillow Farm, Fort Bragg
James Linsay — Cabrillo College, Santa Cruz
Bob McFarland, President — California State Grange, Sacramento
Lanny Cotler — CA State Grange, Willits
Monica Keller — Calolea Olive Oil, Loma Rica
Rachel Kasa — Casa Rosa Farms, Woodland
Thea Blair — Cedar Waxwing Farm, Nevada City
Vang Her — Chang Teng Her Farm, Merced
Chue Moua — Chue Farm, Fresno
Robert MacKimmie — City Bees, San Francisco
Barbara Finnin — City Slicker Farms, Oakland
Nadine Schaeffer — Cloudforest Farms, Watsonville
Sue Bordelon — Dancing Dog Farms, Loomis
Stan Devoto — Devoto Gardens, Sebastopol
Molly Nakahara — Dinner Bell Farm, Grass Valley
Ken Dickerson — Ecological Farming Association, Soquel
Dennis R. Elston — Elston Family Farm, San Miguel
William Crepps — Everything Under the Sun, Winters
Nico Farms — Farm City, San Luis Obispo
Eva Antczak — FarmsReach, Oakland
Teresa Kurtak — Fifth Crow Farm, Pescadero
Richard Firme — Firme Farms, Stockton
Tim Van Wagner — First Rain Farm, Nevada City
Ashley Votaw — First Rain Farm and Herbal Instinct, Nevada City
Robert Lower — Flying Disc Ranch, Thermal
Kalita Todd — Fox Hollow Farm, Grass Valley
Randi Pratini — Fresh Starts Organic Farm, Nevada City
Al Courchesne — Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood
Dru Rivers — Full Belly Farm, Guinda
Brenden Kizere — Full Circle Aquaponics & Polyculture, Penn Valley
Julie Briones — Garden Jewels Produce Farm, Newcastle
Jordan Gatto — Gattonelli Farm, Covelo
Pam Sloane — GIVE - Green Initiative for Vegetables in Education, Old Greenwich
Kaylynne Throne — Grange #306, Sebastopol
Qayyum Johnson — Green Gulch Farm, Muir Beach
Sara Tashker — Green Gulch Farm, Muir Beach
Layci Gragnani — Green Heart Farms, Arroyo Grande
Sergio Jimenez — Ground Stew Farms, San Martin
Ilyse Magy — Growing Home Community Garden, San Francisco
Bill Theysbens — Gypsy Wins Farm, Prunedale
Jen Theysken — Gypsy Wins Farm, Prunedale
Paul Hain — Hain Ranch, Tres Pines
Kai Her — Herr Family Farm, Clovis
Aaron Gold — Hidden Star Orchards, Clements
Theresa Huck — Huck's Hollow Farm, Penn Valley
Kevin Nowell — Humble Bee Hill Farms, Shingle Springs
Mike Pasner — Indian Springs Organic Farm, Penn Valley
Julie Guagliardo — JAG'd edge farm, Auburn
Angel Q. — Kashiwase Farms, Winton
Albert Katz — KATZ farm, Napa/Suisun Valley
Karen Ram — Kiler Canyon Farm, Paso Robles
Lana Kitchel — Kitchel Family Organics Farm, Los Molinos
John Kitchel — Kitchel Family Organics Farm, Los Molinos
Kristie Knoll — Knoll Farms, Brentwood
Casey Havre — Lagier Ranches, Escalon
John Lagier — Lagier Ranches, Escalon
Dolores Howard — LeFont's Organic Crops, San Luis Obispo
Roberto Le-Font — LeFont's Organic Crops, San Luis Obispo
Mandy Caldcleugh — Lindencroft Farm, Ben Lomond
Ken Lindner — Lindner Bison, Litchfield
Kathy Lindner — Lindner Bison, Litchfield
Caitlyn Galloway — Little City Gardens, San Francisco
Andi Emrich — Little City Gardens, San Francisco
Gloria Decater — Live Power Community Farm, Covelo
Faith Collins — Livings Lands Agrarian, Yuba City
Barbara Roemer — Lost Hill Farm & Sierra Harvest, Nevada City
Alfred Louie — Malik Farm, Hickman
Doniga Markegard — Markegard Family Grass-Fed LLC, Half Moon Bay
Carlos Diaz — Mellow's Farms, Morgan Hill
Kim Fernandez — Misty Dawn Farm, Grass Valley
Jutta Thoerner — MM Organics, San Luis Obispo
Zoe Kosmas — Mount Madonna Center, Watsonville
Patricia Chelseth — My Sisters' Farm, Shingle Springs
Roger Strong — Nevada County Beekeeper Association, Nevada City
Elizabeth Byszeski — New Dimension Health, Grass Valley
Glenn Harden — New World Farmstead, Eugene
Mishwa Lee — Northridge Cooperative Homes Community
Garden, San Francisco
Ryan James — OOG, Oakland
Zack Kaldveer — Organic Consumers Association, Oakland
Amy Keyishian — Organic-Now, San Francisco
Sallie Calhoun — Paicines Ranch, Hollister
Sandra Dierks — Paradise Valley Produce, Bolinas
Bob Stricklin — Perfect Blend, Santa Maria
Dan Desmond — Perini Ranch, Lower Lake
Nancy Vail — Pie Ranch, Pescadero
Christine Pielenz — Potrero Nuevo Farm, Half Moon Bay
Dana Tryde — Pozo Organic Farm, Santa Margarita
Eric Michielssen — Pozo Organic Farm, Santa Margarita
Ed Mitchell — Prunedale Grange, Salinas
Andrea Davis-Cetina — Quarter Acre Farm, Sonoma
Becky Talyn — Rancho de los Proyectos, Colton
John Pokrajac — Rancho Santa Helena, Paso Robles
Jan Dietrick — Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., Ventura
Matthew Mosen — Riverdog Farm, Guinda
Kira Forrest — Rowan Hollow Farm, Big Sur
Elan Segarra — San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, San Francisco
Jerry Allen — Sebastopol Grange, Sebastopol
Jimmy Dominguez — Self/Ranchers Against Fracking, Los Alamos
Jamie Collins — Serendipity Farms, Aromas
Ruthanne Jahoda — Shared Abundance Organic Farm, Auburn
Sophia Fox — Sienna Ranch, Lafayette
Aimee Retzler — Sierra Harvest, Nevada City
Fodelia Sherman — Sierra Heritage Farm, Garden Valley
Hyunjoo Albrecht — Sinto Gourmet LLC, San Francisco
Jeanne Blackwell — SLO Clean Water Action, San Luis Obispo
Memo Sifuentes — Stackhouse Brothers Orchards, Hickman
Beth Sherman — Swanton Berry Farm, Santa Cruz
Shawn Suefert — Terra Bella Family Farm, Pleasanton
Evan Wiig — The Farmers Guild, Sebastopol
Astrid Hoffman — The Living Seed Farm, Point Reyes Station
Paul Getzelman — Tre Gatti Vineyards, Lockwood
Paula Getzelman — Tre Gatti Vineyards, Lockwood
Rachel Stauffer — Trees of Life Farm, Occidental
Marlene Bottenfield — Tumbling Creek Farm, Nevada City
Carleen Weirauch — Weirauch Farm & Creamery, Petaluma
Dan Weiser — Weiser Family Farms, Rancho Cucamonga
Joseph Minocchi — White Crane Springs Ranch, Healdsburg
Kyung Minocchi — White Crane Springs Ranch, Healdsburg
Danielle Baker — White Moon Ranch, Shingle Springs
Logan Edwards — Wild Grace Farms, North San Juan
Kate Elsbree — Windsor Grange, Healdsburg
Jane Firstenfeld — Wines & Vine Magazine, Vallejo
Carl Rosato — Woodleaf Farm, Oroville
Apolinar Yerena — Yerena Farms, Castroville
Gilberto Yerena — Yerena Farms, Castroville