Texas Local Foods

Although local foods travel a short physical distance from farm to table, farmers travel a long road with obstacles: government laws and regulations made by and for the benefit of big corporate agribusinesses. Many of the barriers take the form of so-called food safety regulations, which are designed to fit the large industrial-scale operations that are the source of the majority of the foodborne illness outbreaks in this State and across the country. FARFA is working on scale-appropriate regulation that recognizes that one of the best ways to ensure food safety is to improve access to locally grown and produced foods, either sold directly by the producer to the consumer or with very short, transparent, and accountable supply chains.

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Action Alert (Texas): What Would You Like on Your Thanksgiving Table?

Texas Home Processors Bill | Homemade Pumpkin Pie

As we head into the Thanksgiving season, food becomes central to our gatherings with friends and family. In addition to spending time in the kitchen, many people will also be seeking out locally produced foods such as bread rolls, pies, cranberry sauce, and canned vegetables to go along with their festive meals.

Some of these foods are now available from local individuals making them in their home kitchens, thanks to our success in passing the Texas Cottage Foods Law in 2011 and 2013. And Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) is now working on a Home Processors Bill that would expand the types of foods that could be made in home kitchens and where they can be sold.

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Texas Legislative Agenda 2015

texas capitol

The Texas legislative session is approaching fast! Although the Legislature won’t convene until January 2015, bills will start being filed in mid-November after the elections. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has an ambitious agenda again this year. Since bills often take more than one session to pass, we will continue to fight for important bills from the last round:

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Action Alert (Texas): Tell State Health Department to Give Farmers Straight Answers

DSHS Better Communications Act

In 2013, we won a major victory in Texas with the passage of the DSHS Better Communications Act, HB 1392. This important bill, sponsored by Representative Susan King, requires the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to respond promptly when a farmer or food producer asks about what the law is and how it applies to their situation.

Seems pretty basic, right? Sadly, you would be shocked by how many farmers and food producers have run into problems simply getting a straight answer as to what they have to do to comply with the law. It’s one of the most common problems we hear, all over the state.

Passing HB 1392 was a major step forward for the local foods movement in Texas.

The next step is agency rulemaking. DSHS recently proposed regulations to implement HB 1392. The proposed regulations mostly follow the language of the bill, but the agency has added a provision for the requests to be submitted on an approved form.…

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Texas DSHS Better Communications Bill 2013 FAQ

 
In the 2013 Texas legislative session, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance worked to pass several bills to help small farmers and local food producers. The Cottage Foods Law and the Farmers Market Bill are covered separate posts.

Click here to download a printable PDF version that covers both the Farmers’ Market Bill (HB 1382) and the DSHS Better Communications Bill (HB 1392). Both go into effect on September 1, 2013.
 

DSHS Better Communications Bill (HB 1392)

 
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has primary jurisdiction in areas where there is no local health department. In addition, many local health departments enforce the DSHS regulations, rather than adopting specific local regulations.

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Texas Farmers’ Market Bill 2013 FAQ

In the 2013 Texas legislative session, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance worked to pass several bills to help small farmers and local food producers. The Cottage Foods Law and the DSHS Better Communications Bill are covered separate posts.

Click here to download a printable PDF version that covers both the Farmers’ Market Bill (HB 1382) and the DSHS Better Communications Bill (HB 1392). Both go into effect on September 1, 2013.

Farmers’ Market Bill (HB 1382)

The Farmers’ Market Bill has two sections: (1) sampling at farmers’ markets and farm stands, and (2) cooking demonstrations at farmers’ markets.

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Texas Cottage Foods Law 2013 FAQ: Selling Home Made Foods

 
Click here to download a printable PDF version of this article.

Prior to 2011, it was illegal to sell any food that a person prepared in his or her home. In 2011, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) worked to pass the first Texas Cottage Foods Law, which allows people to sell specific low-risk foods directly to consumers from their homes, up to $50,000 per year. In 2013, FARFA worked to expand the law to include more foods and allow sales at more locations. The new law (HB 970) takes effect on September 1, 2013.

Click here to read the text of HB 970, relating to regulation of cottage food products and cottage food production operations.

What is required to sell under the cottage foods law?

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Texas Legislative Session

 
We have a lot of information to share in this alert – to make it easier, below is a table of contents of all the news we’re covering!


texas-capitolThe 83rd Texas legislative session, including the vetoes and bill signings, is finally done.

Overall, it was a very good session for the local foods movement. Out of the nine local foods bills that were filed, three passed and have been signed by the Governor: the cottage foods bill (HB 970), the DSHS Better Communications Act (HB 1392), and the farmers’ market bill (HB 1382).

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Texas Local Foods: Letter to City of Dumas

 
FARFA continues to fight for the rights of local food producers under the cottage foods laws that we got passed in 2011 and 2013. Check out our letter to the City of Dumas:
 
June 24, 2013

Mayor Pat Sims
Commissioner Mike Funk
Commissioner Vernon McDowell
Commissioner David Bonner
Commissioner Steve Bodnar

Via email
 
Dear Mayor Sims and Commissioners:

Your Health Department recently sent a letter threatening to shut down and impose fines on a legal cottage food operation.

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Press Release (Texas): Governor Perry Signs Local Food Bills

 
MEDIA CONTACT:
Judith McGeary, 254-697-2661 (office)
judith@farmandranchfreedom.org
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 


Governor Perry Signs Texas Local Food Bills

Local Farmers Gain Bipartisan Support from Texas Legislators

AUSTIN, Texas – June 18, 2013 – On Friday, June 14, Governor Rick Perry signed the three local foods bills passed by the Texas Legislature this session. The cottage foods bill (HB 970), the farmers’ market bill (HB 1382), and the DSHS Better Communications bill (HB 1392) all help make it easier for local farmers and food producers to raise and sell the healthy, local foods that so many consumers are increasingly seeking out.

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Texas Local Food Bills 2013

 

Local foods was a hot topic at the 83rd Texas Legislature!  FARFA worked on several bills to support local farmers and remove some of the barriers for local food systems.   These common-sense bills address the needs of the local foods movement, where local farmers and food producers sell their products directly to consumers in transparent transactions. Helping the local food movement helps small local businesses and our economy.

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