Agreement between Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD) and Cadiz will bolster FIELD’s workforce development programs and train students in sustainable water management amid worsening climate change while advancing FIELD’s mission of fostering prosperity in California’s underserved communities.
TEHACHAPI and CADIZ, Calif. (September 15, 2022) — Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD) and Cadiz Inc. (NASDAQ: CDZI) today announced an agreement to create a state-of-the-art technology innovation and learning center to provide education, work-based training and business opportunities in poor, minority communities.
FIELD’s Innovation Campus will be located at Cadiz Ranch, the Company’s 45,000-acre property in the Mojave Desert, and will provide hands-on, intensive instruction and work-based training in water conservation, groundwater management and sustainable agriculture – critical need areas as California adapts to the impacts of climate change on water supplies and food production.
The new initiative is part of FIELD’s Workforce Development division and operates under the Career Technical Education (CTE) program, which is part of FIELD’s EPIC de Cesar Chavez High School, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. FIELD is a non-profit founded in 1978 by renowned farmworker leader Cesar Chavez whose vision was to uplift the economic prospects of underserved populations in poor and minority communities. FIELD’s CTE program prepares students for the changing workforce by developing academic knowledge and technical skills in a variety of career pathways, including Early Childhood Education, Solar Photovoltaics, Firefighting, Agriculture, Construction, Recycling and Natural Resources. FIELD’s CTE program at Cadiz Ranch will focus on water conservation, water quality, groundwater management and strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture. FIELD’s work-based training programs support a continuum of self-sufficiency and empowerment in underserved communities through the creation of “social enterprises” – businesses that are created, owned and operated by FIELD students/graduates.
Over three decades of farming in California’s Mojave Desert, Cadiz has developed sophisticated groundwater water conservation techniques to support farming in extreme arid conditions by intercepting and capturing groundwater before it evaporates. The Company’s groundwater management plan includes extensive use of sensor technologies to monitor soil moisture, evaporation rates and groundwater movement to maximize the conservation of groundwater.Conserved water not used for irrigation will be stored in the aquifer and transported through underground pipelines as part of the Cadiz Water Conservation and Storage Project, creating a critical new water supply for drought-stricken communities in Southern California.
In partnership with FIELD, Cadiz will create classroom space, housing and other facilities at the Cadiz Ranch for an estimated 30-60 students per academic year as they learn best practices in promoting sustainable water management and conservation in a time of increasing climate change and worsening drought.
“As California’s water supply grows increasingly scarce, climate-adaptive technologies and practices will be key to health, safety and economic survival, especially for traditionally underserved communities,” said FIELD Present and CEO David Villarino-Gonzalez. “We are thrilled to partner with Cadiz in creating work-based training programs and business opportunities for our students so they can build a sustainable future, not only for themselves, but for their communities.”
“This partnership is our future,” said Cadiz Executive Board Chair Susan Kennedy. “Aridification is a rapidly growing threat that will change everything about how we live in the Southwest. FIELD’s focus on combining sustainability and self-sufficiency to create business opportunities for students is exactly what we need to address climate change.”
The FIELD program will include direct, hands-on training for students in managing sustainable farm operations at Cadiz Ranch, groundwater management and water quality monitoring, business operations, wellfield development, and other areas. FIELD students will also gain experience supporting the first-ever conversion of an existing oil and gas pipeline for use conveying water. The program is expected to begin in the spring of 2023, with an English as a Second Language program for FIELD students available at the Cadiz Innovation Center beginning this fall.
The creation of the Cadiz Innovation Center is the Company’s latest initiative to deliver clean water solutions to disadvantaged communities. In August, Cadiz agreed to dedicate 5,000 acre-feet of water per year to the Salton Sea Authority and Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians and provide well treatment technology on tribal lands, as well as up to $5 million in pipeline infrastructure to ensure access to clean, safe drinking water.
The Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD) is committed to uplifting the economic prospects of our underserved populations in poor, minority communities. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit founded and established in 1978 by Farmworker Leader Cesar E Chavez. Cesar’s ultimate vision was to inspire farmworkers & the rural workforce to gain self-sufficiency through employee owned social enterprises. Our Core Purpose is to empower the underserved to be self-sufficient with a mission to promote economic & social prosperity. FIELD carries out this mission through a continuum of educational and workforce development programs that assist underserved communities in achieving empowerment, self-sufficiency, and a better quality of life. FIELD has served over 130,000 people since 2002 by making a major investment in an education and training infrastructure. For more information, please visit www.farmworkerinstitute.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org