Profession: Dairy Farmer
"My name is Dino Giacomazzi, and my goal is to reconnect people with agriculture, their food, and our shared values."
California is home to one of the richest agricultural regions in the world. But, finite water resources have led to a tug of war between farmers and ever-growing cities and urban areas.
Dino Giacomazzi, a fourth generation dairy farmer in the San Joaquin Valley, decided to find a solution. He adopted strip tilling, a type of conservation tillage - a low input, low emission system for producing crops. Strip-tilling involves tilling in narrow strips rather than disturbing the entire field. This improves water conservation and reduces fuel consumption, diesel emissions and dust.
He said farmers are an important part of the fabric of California, but people have forgotten their link to the land.
"Over the last few generations, we seem to have forgotten where our food comes from and as a result we’re jeopardizing our food security," he said. "Californians should spend time getting to know the farmers and the origination of their food."
Giacomazzi decided to work not only to improve methodology, but to improve agriculture’s public image as well.
"When I came back to our family farm 10 years ago, I noticed that people’s opinions of farmers had changed," said Giacomazzi. "There was a time when the public thought of farmers as being ethical and sharing the same values of Californians. There was a radical change in how people viewed agriculture. This gave me a feeling of responsibility to better communicate the fact that farmers share those values."
The EPA recently recognized Giacomazzi for his work to develop environmentally and economically sustainable solutions.