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California Institute for Rural Studies - Forty Years of Stories
Merced Multicultural Arts Center
Merced, CA
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Forty years of stories, and there's more to come!

Join us for
California Institute for Rural Studies Forty Years of Stories
March 21, 2017, Merced Multicultural Arts Center
645 W. Main Street, Merced, CA 95340

Event 7-10pm, Wine and Cheese Reception 7-7:30

An evening of storytelling and celebration, marking 40 years of CIRS, with many of the researchers and community members who have driven our work, while also looking forward to the future of CIRS. 40 years of stories, and there is more to come!

Starting us off, CIRS founder, Dr. Don Villarejo will be center stage, telling the rare personal story of his work at CIRS, "Seeking an Agriculture That Is Ecologically Sound, Economically Viable and Socially Just - A Personal History."

We will premiere the newest Cal Ag Roots story on Japanese-American Farmers in the Central Valley, with Cal Ag Roots Project Director Ildi Carlisle-Cummins and guest storyteller,  Nikiko Masumoto. Nikiko is a fourth generation farmer at Masumoto Family Farm in Fresno, an artist and performer.

We will then have a conversation with Dr. Isao Fujimoto and Nikiko Masumoto, about their experiences as farmers, from two very different generations. Isao is also a former Board President of CIRS, UC Davis Professor Emeritus of Human Development, founder of the UCD Asian American Studies program, and as a child, his farming family was imprisoned in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming and Tule, California concentration camps.

The evening will feature a panel of former CIRS/CAAP staff, sharing key moments from their time at CIRS that have resonance today. They will talk about their work since leaving CIRS, and pressing issues they think we should focus on in our next 40 years. The panel includes Carol Zabin, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, Dave Runsten, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), and Hector Martinez, of Mallison & Martinez Attorneys at Law, with moderator Sarah Cain.

We will also be displaying framed photos, posters and other art commissioned & collected by CIRS over these 40 years, as well as a slide show featuring even more.

We know that in the audience will be researchers and community members who have driven our work over the past four decades there to join us and share their stories and insights, while helping us frame our future. **Please bring any photos or paraphernalia you might have from CIRS reporting, workshops or of staff, as we will be scanning them there, to add to the archives!

And we warmly invite the next generation of farmers, researchers, and rural advocates - let's create new collaborations and build the resilience of our rural communities!

Tickets are available at several levels of support: $20 'Next Generation Researcher,' $35 'Community Collaborator,' $50 'Seeker of the Soil,' $75 'Champion of Cartography,' and at $100 'Defender of Data' & We have added a FREE Student ticket option.
Tickets available here:

We thank the Merced Multicultural Arts Center for their support and partnership!


Since 1977, CIRS has focused on rural and agricultural issues, seeking sustainable solutions. Within these broad program areas we do essential work on pesticide use, rural health, market barriers to farmers, fair labor practices, water use & policy, food insecurity & access and more.
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Merced Multicultural Arts Center (View)
645 W. Main Street
Merced, CA 95340
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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