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News Blast

By Leilani Clark

Farm fresh

There's a plenitude of farms and ranches across Sonoma County, yet while kneeling at the altar of organic and local food, it's easy to forget the inequalities that prevent access to good eats for a significant portion of the population. When a sustainably raised local chicken costs twice as much as a factory-farmed bird from North Carolina, which bird are those with only $5 in their pocket going to buy? On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Sonoma County Food System Alliance and the Board of Supervisors address this issue and more at the Sonoma County Food Forum.

The all-day event is designed to "highlight the strengths of the Sonoma County food system and identify strategic opportunities and needs for creating a vibrant food economy." Panels and speakers, including Richard Rossen—former head of the California Department of Food and Agriculture—will address such issues as where we want county food and agriculture systems to be in 10 years and if there's a connection between healthy agriculture, healthy food and a healthy economy. In other words: get out of the In-N-Out drive-through line, and get onto the healthy food bandwagon—your arteries and your thighs will be thankful—on Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. 8am4pm. Free. 707.565.2621.

Stop collaborating & listen

A report released this month by the ACLU of Northern California has created an extra push by the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County (CIRSC) to limit police and sheriff collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Titled "Costs and Consequences: The High Price of Policy Immigrant Communities," the document breaks down the financial and public safety costs of allowing local law enforcement to report people for immigration issues. According to the CIRSC, immigrant families are often afraid to report gang activity and domestic violence because of the possibility that law enforcement will report them to ICE, leading to possible deportation. Unreported crimes create an issue of public safety for the entire community, says the organization. The ACLU report is a community effort involving sheriff and police departments from across the Bay area, including the Santa Rosa Police Department. Read the report at

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