Last session, the need for policy change on issues relating to food, nutrition, and hunger became apparent to me. In hopes of making the current tides of our cultural focus on healthy eating and locally sourced food a permanent effort in Texas, last May I created the new Texas House Farm-to-Table Caucus. This Caucus will provide a much needed vehicle for food and hunger related legislation in Texas, providing a common ground and support network for legislators seeking to enact policy change in this area on behalf of their constituents.
I chair the Texas House Farm-to-Table Caucus alongside my colleague, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R, Brenham), who serves as Vice Chair. A bi-partisan effort, we are resolved to revitalize the growth, harvesting, and consumption of Texas foods, finding that few things so closely connect members from both urban and rural areas of the state, and both sides of the aisle. We believe that right now, in light of a thriving local foods movement, is the perfect time to harness the energy of this new interest in locally sourced foods in order to establish practices that will transform the way Texans think about food.
This session, the Farm-to-Table Caucus plans to expand on the Cottage Foods bill passed in the 82nd Legislature, remove barriers for farmers and food producers at farmers markets, incentivize the use of land to be used for community gardens, address grey areas in the law regarding agricultural land appraisal, and increase feasibility for small food producers to succeed. In this way, we hope to see Texas on track to becoming a beacon of self-sufficiency, environmental friendliness, cost-effective
It is time that we break down the legal barriers that stand in the way of our farmers feeding their communities. As a result, we hope to see a resurgence of family farms and small food industry entrepreneurships. These measures will help to combat high rates of nutrition related disease and socio-economic issues that have been a result of a dependency on cheap processed foods.
I am excited by the prospects of this operation and I hope that you will follow the efforts of the Farm-to-Table Caucus this session. Please don’t forget to check back here for updates regarding our progress.