The Texas Legislature Now Has a Farm-to-Table Caucus to Advocate for Local Food
State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) recently founded a new state caucus aimed at enhancing, protecting and serving the needs of the Texas local food movement. Called the Farm-to-Table Caucus, it's reportedly the nation's first caucus designed specifically to support the local food movement.
The aim of the bi-partisan caucus is to focus on issues relating to Texas home food production, family farms, ranches, coastal fishing operations, food security, childhood obesity and hunger. And, of course, the growing movement of locally produced and harvested edible goods.
From Rodriguez's office:
"This diversification of food sources spurred the need to take a fresh look at the laws and regulations governing production, distribution and consumption within Texas. Many times the question these small businesses are asking isn't 'What can the state do for me?' but rather 'Why is the state standing in the way of me feeding my neighbors?'"
Rodriguez's office points to the growing trend of urban farms, farmers' markets and farm-to-table restaurants, which has created a small resurgence of family farms.
Representative Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), who was instrumental in the passage of the Food Cottage Bill, is the Vice Chair of the caucus.
"Although the struggles as food producers and growers is nothing new, it's becoming an issue that cuts across the political spectrum, from left to right and from urban to rural," Kolkhorst says. "We're seeing not only a debate over government regulation, but also the need for free market fundamentals that encourage small businesses."
Kolkhorst hopes that a unified voice will be more effective in pushing legislative agendas.
Members of the caucus held a little brouhaha this week with members of the House Committees on Public Health and Human Services Board to discuss the direction of the caucus. (Heads up, City of Frisco Zoning Committee: Your name came up in a none-too-favorable way during that meeting.)