California is known for being an agricultural hot spot, as well as for having quite an affinity for the crunchier side of nutrition. It only makes sense that the two points would come together in the political sphere eventually, and now it’s actually happening. This week, California State Senator and Slow Food advocate Noreen Evans (D—Santa Rosa) released a statement announcing the formation of the Senate Select Committee on California Food: Local, Organic, and Sustainable Systems.
Led by Evans as chair, the committee also consists of Senators Mark DeSaulnier (D—Concord), Lori Hancock (D—Berkeley), Fran Pavley (D—Angoura Hills), and Lois Wolk (D—Davis), with two more seats still vacant. The committee’s intended job will be to study California’s current sustainable food systems, from local producers to farmer’s markets, and identify issues like food safety and practices that workers face within the industry. From there, the committee will be able to go on with making informed policy recommendations in areas including food regulations, local food distribution, food access, protecting agriculture land, and the encouragement of sustainable agriculture practices. Already the committee is planning a hearing on local food systems, as well as a tasting event to honor artisan and heirloom foods on World Food Day in October.
“California is one of the top food producers in the world and leads the nation in organic food production,” said Evans in the press release. “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.”