Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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'Urban Cowgirl' says Sunday time to eat local foods

By Rick Longley  |  Willows Journal  |  Link to article
January 24, 2012

Sunday is about to get a new moniker promoting the consumption of local agricultural products.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, wants to designate it as the time to "Eat Local, Buy California Grown on Sundays."

Glenn County Supervisors are supporting that call with a resolution calling Sunday the day to buy and eat local produce and meats grown in the county.

Agricultural Commissioner Jim Donnelly brought the request to the board Jan. 17 and it agreed to join the effort.

Ma, nicknamed the "Urban Cowgirl," is known among North State agriculture interests as a supporter of agriculture and water protection, county officials said.

Donnelly said her Assembly Resolution 42 encourages boards of supervisors statewide to support this cause.

It notes California has a rich heritage of agriculture production and its foods are famous for their "abundance, diversity, freshness and high quality."

Buying locally grown foods also helps California and county farmers and their employees by contributing billions of dollars to the economy every year, officials said.

California's food safety practices ensure a high standard of quality and benefit to consumers whether it is produce, livestock, milk, fish, floriculture, wine, fruits, nuts and more, Donnelly said.

So the Board of Supervisors encourages restaurants, families and grocers "to buy California-Grown floriculture, fiber and foods, such as fresh chicken, flowers and produce because supporting California-grown food products will result in higher food quality, improved food safety, and higher environmental and animal welfare standards, in addition to significant economic benefits," according to Glenn County's resolution.

Supervisor Leigh McDaniel said he has met Ma and that she has worked to understand Northern California agriculture and water needs the last two years.

"North State politicos appreciate her interest and efforts in advocating for the North State," he said. "In gratitude, we thought we'd support her Sunday initiative."

McDaniel added he believes Ma understands North State produce and water resources are important to the San Francisco region as well.

Board Chairman Steve Soeth said there was discussion on the dials about the reason for picking just one day out of seven for this effort - when it would be good to buy all week.

"But it can't hurt," he said. "It gets some press and gets people thinking about it."

Proponents of the resolution also say buying locally produced food goods cuts down on shipping long distances and provides fresher products.

Glenn County's Certified Farmers Markets in Willows and Orland are expected to open again this summer, and there are a lot of produce stands operated by farmers and others around the county.

Grocery stores also feature some locally grown products while a number of local restaurants also feature area produce in season such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, honey and meats.