Panelists Deliver New Vision for Coyote Valley

by Alice Kaufman, Legislative Advocacy Director, Green Foothills

August 12, 2021

Over 100 people joined Green Foothills’ event New Vision for Coyote Valley to hear from a panel of experts on the importance and benefits of Indigenous culture, wildlife connectivity and local farming to the future of this valley. Upcoming advocacy actions that will help make this future a reality were also featured.

To help protect Coyote Valley, all are asked to sign the petition on the Take Action page.

In case you missed it, you can watch the Zoom recording of the event here: New Vision for Coyote Valley.

Here are some of the many notable quotes from our speakers:

The same characteristics that have made Coyote Valley historically one of the most viable ag regions in the world remain by and large unchanged. We’ve got a fertile floodplain with prime soils, we’ve got ideal year-round growing climate, we have a healthy groundwater aquifer, and we’ve got proximity to a metropolitan area with a growing consumer marketplace…I’d say we all have to invest in our relationships with the ag community and increase our understanding of their challenges and address those challenges the best we can.
Michael Meehan, Senior Planner and Agricultural Plan Program Manager, County of Santa Clara Planning Department

A lot of the wells on the land we grow on are 40 – 50 years old and they need to be reestablished…It would be great to get some long-term leases to where we could reestablish some wells and really change the farming in this area…I really hope to see people farming this area for generations to come…I think there are definitely changes that need to be made in the area to promote farming and to promote the longevity of it. It’s definitely viable, it just needs a couple of changes.
Tyler Flippo, Owner, Coyote Canyon Ranch

Most of the farmers I know are environmentalists. We are the people who out there on the land day after day observing nature, working with nature, and our livelihoods depend on successful ecosystems – depend on keeping things in balance…There is also an opportunity for us to have a proactive role in helping maintain the sustainability and maybe even improve our environment. There’s a concept called regenerative agriculture…that’s what I’m talking about, we can do that.

We have a long rich history of farming in this region but doing things the same way they were done 50 or 100 years ago is just not going to fly right now. So, instead of throwing our hands up and just paving everything over, we need to get more imaginative about what farming and agriculture looks like, and what constitutes a farm, and how we can be more sustainable with farming and be part of a healthy ecosystem.
Michelle Lieberman, Owner/Farmer, One Acre Farm

The Muwekma Ohlone people want to be a part of the future of Coyote Valley and I want to thank the City of San Jose and Santa Clara Open Space Authority for involving our Tribe in the visioning process for the future of Coyote Valley. We believe that local tribes should continue to be offered opportunities and formal rights to access land, harvest cultural resources, and practice ceremonies.
Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area

We’re going to be inviting diverse communities, partners and the public to help us envision and implement an amazing green future for Coyote Valley. We’re going to be coordinating with organizations, agencies, farmers, ranchers, and tribes that have a stake in this future. And we’re going to kick that off in September with a webinar over 3 series – September 16th, 23rd, and 30th – we’re people can understand the story of Coyote Valley and how they can get involved.
Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

If we can dig into those systemic drivers, looking at the soils, the water resources, the plant community that used to be here that have since been lost, that can really help guide us when we think about what will be most resilient into the future.
Neal Sharma, Wildlife Linkages Program Manager, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST)

All these years of environmental advocacy have gotten us to this point…we’ve discussed a number of possible next steps, but those aren’t guaranteed to happen. There’s a lot more we have to do on advocacy…changing the designation for Coyote Valley hasn’t happened yet. We need to get that over the finish line.
Brian Schmidt, Legislative Advocacy Director, Green Foothills

We are at the precipice of realizing now what Coyote Valley can become…All these actions create a clear path for the community to step in and make exciting things happen and create something we can all be very proud of.
Sam Liccardo, Mayor, City of San Jose

Thanks again to these great speakers and our event partners Greenbelt Alliance, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Mothers Out Front Silicon Valley, and Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society.

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