HB 1926: The Homemade Foods Bill

Expanding opportunities for local food producers

 

Home Canned Green BeansDuring the 2011 and 2013 Texas Legislative Sessions, FARFA worked to pass the Cottage Food Bill, legalizing sale of non-potentially hazardous foods prepared in home kitchens. Those sales were only allowed within a specific framework: direct-to-consumer, within a list of very specific foods, and limited to $50,000 in annual sales. Despite the restrictions, a Forbes magazine article estimated that more than 1,000 new businesses have been created under the law.

However, the limitations on what can be produced and where the food can be sold limits the cottage food law’s usefulness for many farmers and food producers. The Homemade Foods Bill, sponsored by Representative Eddie Rodriguez, creates a middle tier of regulation that addresses genuine concerns about the risks of the food and expanded distribution, while still providing realistic opportunity for home production.

HB 1926 allows home preparation of foods such as tamales, canned vegetables, fermented foods, and perishable (potentially hazardous) baked goods.…

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East Austin Urban Farm Tour 2017

With Proceeds Benefiting FARFAPrint

The annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour on Sunday, April 9, is a “sip, eat, and stroll event” that takes place on four working urban farms: Boggy Creek Farm, Hausbar Farms, Rain Lily Farm, and Springdale Farm.

All four farms, which are within walking/biking distance of each other, will offer chances to get to know the farmers and their animals plus learn how they grow healthy foods for the Austin community. And each farm will feature bites and sips of delicious samplings from local chefs, mixologists, brewers, and wine merchants.

Proceeds from ticket sales are donated to Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance so we can continue our work to advocate for small-scale farmers and ranchers. Tickets go on sale in early March, so keep checking the Farm Tour website to order yours in advance.

This year’s East Austin Farm Tour is presented by Farmhouse Delivery and sponsored by Lisa Muñoz Realty Austin and Big Wheelbarrow with support from Wheatsville Co-op.…

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Time to Push for Passage of TX Raw Milk Bill!

House Committees for the 2017 Session of the Texas Legislature have been named, and now is the time to make sure all the House Public Health Committee members are asked to support the Raw Milk Bill, HB 57.

Whether you are a raw milk farmer or consumer, or have never even tried raw milk, this bill is important to the local food movement as a whole for these reasons:

  • Direct farm-to-consumer sales of unprocessed milk can be a lifesaver for many small family farms — we’ve had many farmers tell us that raw milk is what saved them from going out of farming.
  • Everyone should have the right to decide what you eat and what you feed your family.

Help support family farmers and consumers’ rights — speak up for HB 57!

Raw Milk Bill Information

Raw milk is already legal in Texas. There are 45 licensed Grade A Raw for Retail dairies, which are regularly inspected and the milk tested using the same (or higher) standards as for milk in the grocery stores.…

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FARFA’s Local Foods Awareness Day 2017

Make an impact on local food laws by joining us at the State Capitol on Thursday, March 9. Be on the front lines as we educate legislators about the issues important to our movement.

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We’ll help you prepare for Local Foods Awareness Day during a 90-minute webinar on February 28. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the bills we currently have before the 2017 Texas Legislature. And we will cover all the steps to contact and hold meetings with State Senators and Representatives at their Capitol offices. It all takes place in the comfort of your own home … all you need is a computer or mobile device and the internet!

Read More About the 2017 Local Food Bills

 

FARFA’s Local Foods Awareness Day

Thursday, March 9, 2017, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (If you are unable to be there for the entire day, please register and come when you can!)

PLACE: Legislative Conference Center, Room E2.002, Capitol Extension, Texas Capitol, Austin

PARKING: Reasonably priced parking is available at the Visitors Parking Lot, San Jacinto Blvd., between 12th and 13th streets.…

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2017 Texas Legislative Session

The Texas Legislature is now in session!  We have until May 29 to pass bills to help local farmers and food producers – and to kill bad bills that could endanger the future of agriculture in our state. 

Check out our list of five important good bills that have been filed this session below.

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The Advocacy Process … Step-by-Step

Each bill will be assigned to a committee, which will hold a hearing where the public will testify, both for and against the bill. If you are directly affected by any of these bills and want to testify, please email Judith@FarmAndRanchFreedom.org with your name, contact info, and a brief explanation of your interest in the bill.

If the committee votes in favor of the bill, it then goes to the Calendars Committee (in the House) or the Lieutenant Governor to be scheduled for a vote by the full chamber. Then comes the vote by the full House or Senate.…

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Time to Roll Back Regulations!

If you’ve followed FARFA’s work for any length of time, you know that a large part of our mission is to eliminate the burdensome regulations standing in the way of small-scale farmers, ranchers, and their customers.

us-capitol-west-front-inauguration-2009-barack-obamaWe’ve taken a hard look at our options with the imminent changes coming to Washington, DC. The prevailing message sent by voters in November was that they want less government interference and greater protection for American businesses. This is an ideal time to ask for significant changes to the regulations most damaging to independent farmers.

FARFA has an excellent track record of bipartisanship, with support from both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.  Our focus on practical, real-world solutions for small farmers means that our policy initiatives are not tied to any political philosophy.  So, in response to this opportunity, FARFA will be submitting a report to the incoming Administration, identifying specific reforms that will help small farmers and local food producers without compromising the public health or safety.…

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Texas Raw Milk Trial Delayed

Thank you to everyone who made plans to attend the Harris County raw milk trial on December 14 –  but it’s now been delayed until April.

The delay appears to be part of continued harassment by the Harris County health department. There’s no legal reason that this case shouldn’t go to trial this week – yet they asked for a 4-month continuance, leaving the charges hanging over the head of the courier and raw milk customers.

Rather than face the likelihood of a dismissal by the judge or an acquittal by the jury, the County apparently prefers to be able to continue making threats about additional penalties and fines on baseless charges.

We don’t plan to just sit around until April. Stay tuned for actions you can take, coming soon!

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Harris County putting raw milk courier on trial

A Texas woman faces a criminal misdemeanor charge for picking up milk from a farm and delivering it to individuals who asked her to do so.

The harassment of raw milk couriers was initiated by the Texas Department of State Health Services this summer – yet DSHS has now stated that it will not pursue raw milk consumers or the people they hire as agents to pick up milk for them. (Read more here)

But Harris County is still pressing forward with the trial to prosecute this courier.

The County has been given the written agreement, signed by individual customers, in which they made the woman their agent and asked her to pick up milk on their behalf from a licensed, inspected dairy.  Not one customer has gotten sick and no one has complained.

People pick up groceries for each other all the time.  Every day, FedEx and UPS deliver food ordered online. …

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Texas Raw Milk Victory – October 2016

After several months of hostile treatment by agents from the Texas Department of State Health Services, raw milk consumers and their farmers have something to celebrate. The Commissioner of Health and Human Services, which oversees DSHS, has pledged that the health department will NOT be taking any action against raw milk consumers or their couriers.

This is a major victory for all those who helped in this important grassroots effort!  Thank you to everyone who spoke up!

Background:

Last summer, the  Texas Department of State Health Services embarked on a new, extremely hostile approach, to regulating raw milk. FARFA has worked on a state-level bill to legalize the delivery of raw milk and sales at farmers’ markets (sales currently are legal only at the farm). Over the past several sessions, we have made steady progress toward passing the new bill.

In the meantime, however, consumers have worked together to reduce the burden imposed by the regulations; they have formed groups, and either a member of the group drives to the farm to pick up everyone’s milk, or they hire a courier to pick it up for them.…

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The Demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

A broad range of family farm and local food proponents, progressive groups and tea partiers, advocates for labor, the environment, and national sovereignty, and more, had planned a massive call-in effort this week to fight against the Obama Administration’s last-ditch effort to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the lame duck session – and it appears that we have won without needing this final push!

tpp deniedToday Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and other TPP opponents within Congress held a press conference to discuss the end of the trade partnership and what that means for the future of international trade. And late last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) separately announced that no action would be taken within either House to push a vote on the TPP.  While President Obama has not publicly conceded, it is apparent that the deal is dead for now.

The grassroots opposition to the TPP can be traced back to June 2010, when advocates for small farmers, labor, consumers, and other movements began to raise concerns about the secretive negotiations.…

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