E. Timothy Parker thinks The Central Valley embodies a vast and viable resource for California’s agricultural future as much or even more so now than it has in the past. It must not be overlooked that recent growth impacts during the past decade have raised serious questions as to how we must prioritize the direction of the future. Having had the privilege to once be called a decision maker within a governing body, I want to continue to work vigorously towards an inclusive process whereas the general public concerns are brought forward and addressed. I welcome the opportunity to work with the Farmland Working Group. I hope to add another perspective of advocating participation and inclusiveness in the process. The right to farm remains a focal point, contrasting the urbanism to be considered within city limits. I believe we are on the right path given the insight of the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint regional collaboration. Diligence in this planning process will be the key. I believe the commonality of all of our cities, counties and region regarding patterns of growth is in our last name, California. California, people will come.
Allen Gammon grew up in the Midwest but has lived on both coasts, in Europe, the Philippines, Panama and Saudi Arabia. He met his future wife, Annie, in Manila where she was a medical school classmate. After returning home, Allen sent for Annie who he then married. Allen completed a two year pediatric residency at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, Ca. before moving to Baltimore, Md. where he earned a Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins. He then completed a three year residency in Ophthalmology followed by fellowship training in pediatric ophthalmology in Washington, DC, New York City and London. In 1987, Allen began private practice in Modesto. From extensive travel and living abroad, Allen observed the importance of food and productive farm land. The local loss of rich farmland to sprawl spurred Allen to get involved. A first step was working to pass Measure E in Stanislaus County. During this process, Allen met Jeani Ferrari and Denny Jackman, founders of Farmland Working Group.
Audie Dahlgren is a native Californian, born and raised in the Central Valley. She grew up on a poultry ranch and married an almond farmer, which explains her concern for small family farmers. Audie serves on the Carnegie Foundation Board for the City of Turlock.
Jeani Ferrari has lived in the Central Valley her entire life. She and her husband John farm peaches, almonds and walnuts on family farmland in Stanislaus and Merced counties. She served on the Turlock Downtown Revitalization Committee and is currently serving on the Carnegie Arts Center Foundation Endowment Committee. Jeani served on the Yosemite Association Board, as well as the Yosemite Fund Council. Jeani helped launch Turlock's first Certified Farmers' Market, which opened in 2010 in downtown Turlock and continues today. Jeani was a founding member of the Stanislaus Farmland Trust which merged to become Central Valley Farmland Trust. She was one of three members from Stanislaus County serving on the CVFT board. Jeani is on the Advocacy Committee for the Farmland Working Group.
Ana Ballesteros Ringsted has lived her entire life in the Central Valley. She raised her children in Modesto where her husband has worked for Weyerhauser in the packaging division for 37 years. Ana realizes that her husband’s employment is dependent on the agricultural economy and this is one of the reasons she is interested in preserving Central Valley farmland. Ana has been active in the Sierra Club, the LeConte Museum in Yosemite Valley and the Tuolumne River Trust. Ana has worked as bookkeeper/accountant for 28 years.
Denny Jackman was a founding member of the Farmland Working Group. He was president of “Growth, Orderly, Affordable, Livable” from 1992-1996. GOAL is a former Modesto based organization active in local land use and transportation policies. As a Modesto City Council member (2002-05) he supported adjustment/indexing of developer fees to the cost of services for urban development. Denny co-authored Measure H, a citizen’s advisory initiative that called upon the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors to “direct growth” into incorporated cities. It passed with over a 2-1 margin in the City’s of Modesto (2003) and Newman (2004). He co-authored the Stamp Out Sprawl (SOS) Measure E on the Stanislaus County ballot which also received 2/1 voter approval. Denny is a member of the board of Central Valley Farmland Trust. In March 2014, along with Vance Kennedy and Jake Wenger, he filed an intent to Petition to the City of Modesto to gather signatures for an Urban Limit voter initiative planned for a 2015 ballot. It is designed to place a land-use budget upon urban expansion into prime farmland.
Rudy Platzek was a regional planning director for the Association of Bay Area Governments, where he prepared the Bay Area’s first regional plan. He owned a planning firm and prepared city and county General Plans (GPs) throughout California. Born in 1930s, Rudy has watched the Central Valley change, with large urban areas along Highway 99 beginning to grow together. Due to his concern, he and a team aggregated and mapped the proposed urbanization of all CV city and county GPs. This one map, the first to be done, showed a staggering amount of proposed development. Mapping to the year 2080 (one lifetime) with an expected 25 million people, showed over 2/3 of the CV farmland lost to urbanization. Rudy believes that the present planning system will not provide sufficient farmland protection to preserve food security for future generations.
Elizabeth Mullen is an avid environmentalist. Having grown up with family who are grapegrowers in Sonoma County, she has cultivated a passion for farmland conservation, and an appreciation for land. She studied wine while living in France, and wrote a thesis on the history of “Biodynamic Farming from Rudolf Steiner to Mike Benziger”. Most recently, Elizabeth was Co-President of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Wine Circle and Marketing Director for Stanford’s Women in Management Organization. While she is not assisting the FWG with website design, she works in Operations Finance at the E&J Gallo Winery, focusing on continuous improvement, operational excellence and cost management within Gallo's Super-Premium wine division.
Chance Carrico was born and raised in the Central Valley. He was a member of his local 4-H Club for over 10 years which has given him a deep commitment to the agricultural roots of the region. Chance is a graduate of Economic Studies from California State University, Stanislaus. He works for the State of California in accounting and assists the Farmland Working Group with special projects.
Erica Stewart is currently in her second year at Modesto Junior College, studying viticulture with plans to transfer to Fresno State University. Having been raised in agriculture, FFA and 4-H her entire life, Erica understands the importance of farmland conservation in California and believes strongly in the mission of the Farmland Working Group. When not at school, she interns at AgSafe in Modesto, California.