Fiona Ma for State Assembly

State resolves to eat local at Capital Ag Day

SACRAMENTO -- Two lawmakers Wednesday suggested a new Sunday ritual — eating nothing but California-grown food.

That weekly commitment would help the state's farmers prosper and reduce the harm that distant shipping does to the environment, supporters said.

Assemblywomen Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, and Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, appeared on the Capitol steps to announce the effort. They have introduced a resolution to have each Sunday be Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day.

"In a time of economic distress for our state, the support of California products will help keep critical dollars within the state for the benefit of Californians, strengthening the state's communities, economies and businesses," the resolution says.

The launch was part of the annual Ag Day at the Capitol, which highlights the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, milk and other farm products from the state.

The lawmakers were joined by Ira Brill, director of marketing and advertising services for Foster Farms, a Livingston-based poultry company that competes with out-of-state rivals.

"With the budget deficit as it is in California, we need to keep hard-working Californians' money in the state, for the good of all Californians," he said.

Nineteen industry groups have signed on to the campaign, ranging from the Table Grape Commission to the Bean Shippers Association to the Sea Urchin Commission.

Organizers said consumers could add up to $15.6 billion to the annual income of the state's food producers if they took part every Sunday. They cited a Foster Farms survey finding that 85 percent of Californians believe that eating locally is important.