Term Expires: January 2023
Christopher Valadez became president of GSA in May 2019. He was quickly faced with many challenging issues facing agriculture in our region including food safety, water quality and labor concerns. However, none reached the magnitude of the pandemic and the critical efforts to protect farm workers from the COVID-19 virus. Through the GSA Board and Chris's leadership, the staff developed and implemented innovative and model programs to protect essential workers including: a collaboration with health officials and ag groups to develop the first-of-its-kind on-farm prevention guidance; the creation of a quarantined housing program for farm workers, the development of onsite virus prevention training by health care professionals, the establishment of an expedited virus testing program and the implementation of mass vaccination clinics for ag employees intiated in February 2021 in partnership with Clinica de Salud. These clinics resulted in more than two-thirds of the farm workers in the region receiving life-saving vaccines. The vaccination effort by GSA and Clinica has received nationwide recognition, including a clinic visit from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra.
Chris joins GSA following 11 years at the California Fresh Fruit Association as the organization's Director of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs. In this role, Valadez shaped and addressed state wage and hour policies, as well as human health and safety, water supply and quality, food safety, air quality and political engagement. In October 2016, Valadez helped launch the Central Valley Farmworker Foundation, which has since expanded statewide to become the California Farmworker Foundation, a non-profit organization that works at the grassroots level to bring innovating programs and services directly to farmworkers throughout California. Prior to that he had spent four years serving as Deputy District Director for former Congressman George Radanovich, providing outreach on federal policy matters affecting the agricultural economy, namely immigration and water policy. Born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, Valadez is a proud grandson of farmworkers who later worked to achieve their dream of becoming small-business owners, and a son of working class parents whose examples helped to shape Chris' vision for GSA's new mission of advancing solutions benefitting families, food and farming.