LIVINGSTON, Calif. – Merced County, home to local poultry producer Foster Farms, today adopted the state’s “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day” resolution (ACR 42), making Merced the third California county to implement the resolution in the past month. The resolution to proclaim every Sunday as “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day” was passed unanimously by the Merced County board of supervisors in a move to encourage local residents and businesses to purchase and prepare only locally grown foods once a week for the good of the community, local producers and businesses and the local and state economy. Merced supervisor Deidre Kelsey introduced the resolution. Stanislaus and Fresno Counties also adopted similar resolutions in early August as a sign of growing interest throughout the state in supporting California-grown foods.
ACR 42 was originally authored by State Assemblymembers Fiona Ma, (San Francisco), Speaker pro Tempore, and Cathleen Galgiani (Modesto), chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. Family-owned and Livingston, California-based Foster Farms, representing California’s poultry industry, actively worked with legislators at ACR 42’s inception to raise awareness of the issue. The resolution seeks to bring attention to foods available at farmers markets and grocery stores that are produced locally and within the state. According to economic data on consumption habits, the "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" resolution could boost the state economy up to $15.6 billion annually if residents pledged to eat all locally grown foods just one day a week. State lawmakers in the State Assembly unanimously passed the resolution, formally becoming ACR 42, on June 2 with all 61 members of the Assembly joining as cosigners.
Since its unanimous passage through the California State Senate on June 23, ACR 42 has quickly gained the support of California’s agricultural leaders with more than 24 California commodity boards and associations signing on as supporters of the initiative.
“Each day, California food producers go up against out-of-state producers at the grocery store, when there are plenty of local, high quality California-grown options available,” said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. California’s poultry industry alone sustains more than 25,000 employees and accounts for 22 percent of the state's agricultural sales. “Consumers may not realize that they spend more than a quarter billion dollars each year on out-of-state poultry alone,” said Brill. “Being California-grown means something more than just a label. Our products and practices meet California’s stringent food safety and environmental standards. We are committed to delivering our products locally in California, meaning our products take 48 hours or less to make it to the grocery store, rather than four days or more it takes out of state chicken to arrive. We believe this has a direct bearing on quality, freshness and taste. But even more, we are providing Californians jobs and contributing to California communities because we’re based right here.”
Additional support for ACR 42 at the county level demonstrates that California communities depend on local food production for viable economies, employment opportunities, environmental commitments and healthy food choices. Stanislaus and Fresno Counties, two of the country’s top agricultural producers, adopted the resolution on August 16 and August 9, respectively. Fresno County leads the state with a yearly agriculture production value upwards of $5.37 billion and its “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day” effort was spearheaded by Barry Bedwell, president of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League. In Southern California, the initiative was adopted on the city level after being introduced by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Richard Alarcón and Tom LaBonge and passed by the Los Angeles City Council on July 1. Similar city council approvals are currently pending in San Francisco and Bakersfield.
“The action and interest that we’re seeing at the county level shows that these communities recognize the role of agriculture in the daily lives of California residents,” said Assemblymember Fiona Ma. “We are privileged in California to have easy access to California-grown grapes, chicken and avocados along with many more delicious staples that contribute to the health and vitality of communities and the state. We should all be doing what we can to support producers who keep dollars within the state.”
The ACR 42 movement celebrates California, the country's most agriculturally abundant state, which produces 400 commodities and a significant amount of food for the rest of the country. By making a conscious decision to “Eat Local, Buy California Grown”, Californians can support California farmers who work hard to raise healthy, high-quality local food while keeping billions of consumer dollars within the state supporting local businesses, communities and families.
California consumers can also show support by signing a pledge to dedicate Sundays to eating local on the "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" Facebook page. California maintains a commitment to the best practices in environmental impact and sustainability, animal welfare and food safety, and continues to produce more "fresh" and "natural" products than any other state.
The following agricultural organizations have also pledged their support of the Eat Local, Buy California Grown initiative:
• Association of California Egg Farmers
• California Ag Irrigation Association
• California Apple Commission
• California Asparagus Commission
• California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers
• California Association of Wheat Growers
• California Avocado Commission
• California Bean Shippers Association
• California Blueberry Commission
• California Cut Flower Commission
• California Farm Bureau Federation
• California Grain and Feed Association
• California Grape and Tree Fruit League
• California Grown
• California Pear Growers Association
• California Poultry Federation
• California Salmon Council
• California Sheep Commission
• California Sea Urchin Commission
• California Strawberry Commission
• California Table Grape Commission
• California Walnuts
• California Warehouse Association
• Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
Family-owned Foster Farms, with a more than 70-year legacy of chicken farming in California, joins the California Poultry Federation and these other leading agricultural groups supporting Eat Local, Buy California Grown. The company has launched a new communications program devoted to its fresh, local chicken production in California. Foster Farms raises all chicken sold in California on private ranches throughout the state, allowing its chicken to be delivered truly fresh to stores within 48 hours or less, unlike out-of-state chicken which could take four days or more. Consumers can learn more and get ideas for cooking locally at www.facebook.com/fosterfarms.
About Foster Farms
Since 1939, West Coast families have depended on Foster Farms for premium quality chicken products. Family-owned and operated, the company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. Foster Farms specializes in fresh, all natural chicken products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Based in California's Central Valley, with ranches also in the Pacific Northwest, the company's fresh chicken is produced in or near each region served. Foster Farms also produces delicious pre-marinated,
ready-to-cook and fully cooked products that meet the quality and convenience needs of today's home cooks, retailers, warehouse clubs and foodservice customers.
Food safety is Foster Farms’ highest priority and the company would like to remind consumers to always follow safe handling, preparation and storage guidelines for the preparation of fresh poultry products All fresh poultry products should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (boneless and ground) and 180°F and 170°F (bone-in: breast and drums thighs and wings). Visit www.fosterfarmsandnewmansown.net to learn more.
Editor’s Note: For interviews with state legislators, representatives from Foster Farms or state commodity boards, contact Fineman PR at 415-308-3654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.