by Kurtis Alexander, a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Read the original article here.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation last week that seeks to bolster California’s love affair with fresh food, including approving creation of a statewide Office of Farm to Fork.
After putting his signature on seven bills Friday, Brown said he wants to promote local agriculture and make healthy foods easier to get.
Assembly Bill 2413, authored by Assemblyman John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, will set up an office within the state Department of Food and Agriculture to help boost the supply of California produce in poor communities and schools.
While no money is set aside for the new office, the legislation urges administrators to piggyback on federal initiatives — and funding — that have sought to improve diets nationwide, especially those of children, during the Obama years.
“Having an agency dedicated to working with federal, philanthropic and nonprofit efforts to increase the availability of quality, nutritious foods is critical, especially in rural and urban areas that don’t have access to fresh produce,” Pérez said in an e-mail.
Another bill signed by the governor seeks to promote urban farming.
Assembly Bill 2561, authored by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena (Los Angeles County), voids a number of restrictions that prevent city and suburban dwellers from growing vegetables. Homeowner and condo associations cannot prohibit gardens, nor can landlords stop renters from growing food in outdoor planters.
Assembly Bill 1789, by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, triggers a state review of insecticides to make sure they’re not harming honey bees and the pollination of California crops.
Assembly Bill 1990, by Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, makes it easier for gardeners and hen owners to negotiate red tape and legally sell their wares.