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California Food and Justice Coalition Action Alert

The California Food and Justice Coalition has issued the following action alert:

Topic: Support Farm to School in California: Attend the California Assembly Agriculture Committee Informational Hearing: “Farm to School: How can California Farmers get their Products into Our School Cafeterias?”
When: Wednesday, April 13th, at 2:00pm
Where: Room 4202 of the California State Capitol, Sacramento

Assemblymember Barbara Matthews, chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, is hosting an informational hearing on Farm to School. This will be in addition to the hearing on AB 826 (read below) that we expect will be held by the Assembly Education. The hearing will be longer than a typical bill hearing, and will be an opportunity for farmers, school food service directors and activists to educate committee members, and others in the legislature, about the benefits of farm to school programs for schools and farmers, and the opportunities for the state to help remove barriers to developing farm to school relationships. This is an important chance to build support among legislators for farm to school before they have to vote on AB 826 – the California Farm to School Child Nutrition Improvement Act (more details below).

Your Support and Involvement in the Hearing is Needed! There are many ways that you can help promote farm to school and make the hearing a success:

Attend the Hearing and Meet with Your Representative: We are calling for anyone who can be in the capitol on April 13th to attend the hearing and participate in legislative visits to promote AB 826. If you are in the Sacramento area, or able to travel there for the day, we can help you schedule an appointment with your representatives. Please contact CFJC soon to let us know.

Give a Public Comment: In addition to the panelists who will testify that day, there will be a public comment period where farm to school advocates can share their experiences and state their support for farm to school. The more people there the more support we can generate for farm to school and AB 826. Let us know if you’ll be coming to the hearing and if you would like to make a statement. Contact Heather Fenney at heather [at] foodsecurity [dot] org or 310-822-5410 if you’ll be in Sacramento on the 13th.

Call or Write your Representative: If you can’t be in Sacramento, please call or write your representative and ask them to attend the farm to school informational hearing on Wednesday, April 13th. Your call is especially important if your representative is on the agriculture committee or the education committee (members listed below). The members of the education committee will be voting on AB 826 in the coming weeks and this is an opportunity for them learn what farm to school is about. Download a sample letter or a sample call script. (Or first, find out who your representative is.)

Assembly Agriculture Committee
Barbara S. Matthews, Chair, Dem-17 (916) 319-2017
Bill Maze, Vice Chair, Rep-34, (916) 319-2034
Sam Blakeslee, Rep–33, 916-319-2033
Joseph Canciamilla, Dem-11, 916-319-2011
Dave Cogdill, Rep-25, (916) 319-2025
Nicole Parra, Dem-30, 916-319-2030
Simon Salinas, Dem-28, 916-319-2028
Juan Vargas, Dem-79, 916-319-2079

Assembly Education Committee
Jackie Goldberg, Chair, Dem-45, (916) 319-2045
Mark Wyland, Vice Chair, Rep-74, (916) 319-2074
Juan Arambula, Dem-31, 916-319-2031
Joe Coto, Dem-23, 916-319-2023
Loni Hancock, Dem-14, 916-319-2014
Bob Huff, Rep-60, 916-319-2060
Carol Liu, Dem-44, 916-319-2044
Gene Mullin, Dem-19, 916-319-2019
Fran Pavley, Dem-41, 916-319-2041

Farm to School Legislation AB 826 (Nava)
CFJC and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) are co-sponsoring legislation being offered by Assemblymember Pedro Nava (35th – Ventura/Santa Barbara). AB 826 – the California Farm to School Child Nutrition Improvement Act – creates the California Farm to School program in order to improve school meals and combat childhood obesity by serving kids the healthiest and freshest foods available from California’s family farmers. Through training, sharing information and helping to address transportation barriers, the California Farm to School program helps schools and farmers work together to get local, seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other farm fresh products, into the school meal program.

CFJC will send out regular updates on this bill and actions you can take to support it. You can also sign up to receive updates from the state’s legislative tracking system. Visit www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html and search for AB 826. At the bottom of the page, click on “Subscription List” and enter your email address in the space provided.

Want to know more about farm to school? Visit CFJC’s website for fact sheets on the legislation and information on farm to school programs in California.

The California Food and Justice Coalition is a statewide membership coalition committed to the basic human right to healthy food while advancing social, agricultural and environmental justice. We are partners of the national Community Food Security Coalition, and collaborate with community-based efforts in California working to create a socially just, ecologically and economically sustainable food supply. We envision a California food system in which all activities, from farm to table, are equitable, healthful, sustainable, and community-driven.

California Food and Justice Coalition c/o CFSC
P.O. Box 209, Venice, CA 90294
Phone: 310-822-5410; Fax: FAX 310-822-1440
email: Heather [at] foodsecurity [dot] org