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Senate panel approves local food resolution

Senate panel approves local food resolution

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 23, 2010

Local farmers and farmers markets got a pat on the back from the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee Tuesday, which approved a resolution encouraging Idaho-grown food production. The House approved the non-binding resolution March 15.

“I think this resolution… is a good signal to our citizens out in the state,” said Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow. Trail said he’s been involved with Moscow’s farmers market, which brings in $50,000-100,000 to stores in downtown Moscow each week.

Nampa farmer Janie Burns said the resolution would tell Idahoans that buying food from Idaho benefits their health, their community, as well as their economy. “The power of food systems as an economic engine is a real one,” she said. Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, said Idaho citizens spend $4 billion a year on food, but that 90 percent of that food comes from outside Idaho’s borders.

Boise farmer Josie Erskine, who sells at Boise’s farmers market and an online farmers market called Idaho’s Bounty, said the resolution affects her personally. “It’s a declaration of who I am, of who my family is in Idaho,” she said. Erskine added that she believes that as Idaho cities become larger, locally-grown food and farmers become more important. “It is very important for urban people to understand how important agriculture is to the state of Idaho,” she said. “As Idaho grows more urban and more urban, there is going to be more disconnect to ag and farmland.”

The resolution says that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables experience better health, with lower rates of obesity and related chronic conditions. It also encourages Idahoans to get to know their growers and to buy and eat more food that is grown in or near Idaho.  The resolution now heads to the Senate for a full vote. Read IdahoReporter.com’s story of a House panel approving the resolution here. The text of the resolution, HCR59, is available here.

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