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Agriculture Today

Family farms, local foods education day set

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February 16, 2011 | 3,152 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN -- Local food supporters from all across Texas will gather at the State Capitol on Monday, Feb. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to meet with legislators about issues concerning family farms and local foods. The education day is a free event, open to the public, and organized by the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a Texas-based non-profit that advocates for independent agriculture and citizens who support local foods.

The Family Farms and Local Foods Education Day is an opportunity for Texas citizens, farmers, and ranchers to speak up for local food systems. Participants will have the chance to learn about the legislative process, meet legislators and their staff, and work together in support of improved access to local foods.

Prior to the event, participants are asked to make an appointment with their legislators. On the day of the event, the group will convene for a short meeting about citizen activism, communicating effectively with legislators, and the specific bills that the Legislature is considering.

According to Judith McGeary, director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, in a Feb. 8 press release, topics that will be discussed at the education day include:

•HB 75/SB 237 -- the “Raw Milk Bill” -- to increase access to licensed raw dairy products;

•Reducing unnecessary regulation of farmers’ markets;

•Allowing “cottage food” producers to sell directly to consumers;

•Reducing fees on small-scale cheese-makers; and

•Fair property tax treatment for urban farms, community gardens, and sustainable producers.

“We need laws like these that allow local farmers and rural economies to thrive,” McGeary said. “Texans have already been voting for local foods with their dollars, buying direct from farmers in ever-increasing numbers. Now it’s time for our legislators to catch up. If you care about what you eat, come tell your legislators.”

For more information, visit www.farmandranchfreedom.org/upcoming-meetings.

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