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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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California Senate Creates New Local, Sustainable Food Select Committee

April 29, 2012 |

News Release – Sacramento, CA – Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) recently announced the creation of the Senate Select Committee on California Food: Local, Organic and Sustainable Systems.  Evans will serve as chair with Senators DeSaulnier (D-Concord), Hancock (D-Berkeley), Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and Wolk (D-Davis) as members.  The committee has two vacancies.

The committee will study sustainable food production in California including the cottage food industry, artisan/heirloom foods, small and local producers, organic and sustainable practice producers. 

“California is one of the top food producers in the world and leads the nation in organic food production,” said Evans.  “But people today want to know where their food is coming from, how it’s being grown and how it supports their local community.  This committee will shed some light on the challenges local, organic and sustainable food systems face daily to provide communities access to healthy foods from farms that are environmentally conscientious.”

The committee will study sustainable food production in California, including  the cottage food industry, farmer’s markets and farm stands, issues surrounding artisan and heirloom foods, food safety, organic and sustainable practices, and, in general, all issues relating to sustainable agriculture.

The committee intends to make policy recommendations in a wide range of areas: food regulations, local food distribution, food access, protecting agriculture land, and the encouragement of sustainable agriculture practices.

“It’s nice to see the state supporting local efforts around sustainable agriculture,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane.  “Sonoma County has been working on a Regional Food Network initiative which is bearing fruit. Most recently we launched the County Lands for Food Program on the heels of last year’s successful Food Forum. We look forward to the Select Committee’s review and support of these and other county led efforts.”

“The formation of this committee directly reflects the commitment of communities across California to vibrant regional food systems that nurture the health and well-being of all residents,” said Miriam Volat of AgInnovations, California Food System Alliance Network Director.  “An economic and political structure that leads to abundant livelihoods for farmers and food businesses is a base-line for healthy communities. There are thousands of people in the California willing to support and work on creating these sustainable food systems in their regions, this committee is already looking to these communities for what can be done at the State legislation level to ensure our successful future.”

The committee will hold an informational hearing this year on issues facing local food systems. In the fall the Committee plans to host a tasting of artisan and heirloom foods in honor of World Food Day on October 16, 2012.

Senator Noreen Evans has long been one of the North Coast’s leading advocates for Slow Food – the concept that we should be more conscious of what we eat and that our food should be environmentally sustainable and produced close to home.  In 2008, she was the first elected official ever to serve as a delegate to Terra Madre, the world’s most important food conference.  She has also been a vocal advocate for natural resource protection and the preservation of our agricultural heritage.   In 2012, she established the Senate Select Committee on California Food to bring focus on all these ideas and to do the necessary research to determine how to move California closer to the Slow Food ideal while maintaining California agriculture’s important place in our economy.

State Senator Noreen Evans represents the Second Senatorial District, including all or portions of the Counties of Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma. Senator Evans Chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Committee on Judiciary.


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