A new partnership between the Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD) and Cadiz Inc. will see the creation of 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.
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 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.