'Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day' gains momentum

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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LIVINGSTON, Calif. – Merced County, the county where local poultry producer Foster Farms is located, adopted the state's "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" resolution (ACR 42) on Sept. 13, making Merced the third California county to implement the resolution in the past month. The resolution that proclaims every Sunday as "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" was passed unanimously by the Merced County board of supervisors in a move to encourage local residents and businesses to purchase and prepare only locally grown foods once a week for the good of the community, local producers and businesses and the local and state economy.

Deidre Kelsey, Merced supervisor, introduced the resolution. Stanislaus and Fresno Counties also adopted similar resolutions in early August as a sign of growing interest throughout the state in supporting California-grown foods.

ACR 42 was originally authored by State Assembly members Fiona Ma, (San Francisco), Speaker pro Tempore, and Cathleen Galgiani (Modesto), chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. Family-owned and Livingston, Calif.-based Foster Farms, representing California's poultry industry, actively worked with legislators at ACR 42's inception to raise awareness of the issue. The resolution seeks to bring attention to foods available at farmers markets and grocery stores that are produced locally and within the state.

According to economic data on consumption habits, the "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" resolution could boost the state economy up to $15.6 billion annually if residents pledged to eat all locally grown foods just one day a week, according to a news release. State lawmakers in the State Assembly unanimously passed the resolution, formally becoming ACR 42, on June 2 with all 61 members of the Assembly joining as cosigners.

"Each day, California food producers go up against out-of-state producers at the grocery store, when there are plenty of local, high quality California-grown options available," said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. California's poultry industry alone sustains more than 25,000 employees and accounts for 22 percent of the state's agricultural sales.

"Consumers may not realize that they spend more than a quarter billion dollars each year on out-of-state poultry alone," Brill added. "Being California-grown means something more than just a label. Our products and practices meet California's stringent food safety and environmental standards. We are committed to delivering our products locally in California, meaning our products take 48 hours or less to make it to the grocery store, rather than four days or more it takes out of state chicken to arrive. We believe this has a direct bearing on quality, freshness and taste. But even more, we are providing Californians jobs and contributing to California communities because we're based right here."

Agricultural organizations also pledging their support of the Eat Local, Buy California Grown initiative include the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Grain and Feed Association, California Poultry Federation, California Sheep Commission.
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