Thanks to the hard work of our partner organizations, supporters (that's you!), and Assemblymember Bradford's office, the Neighborhood Food Act passed out of the Assembly!
On Thursday, May 29, the California Assembly voted 53-24 in favor of AB 2561, the Neighborhood Food Act. After several rounds of committee hearings and negotiations with the opposition, we are happy to report that the Neighborhood Food Act will continue through the legislative process and hopefully be signed into law before the end of the summer.
But we need your help!
We endured stiff opposition to some of the original provisions of the bill, which resulted in an amended version that attempted to balance our priority of increasing access to food in urban areas with landlord and local government priorities around food safety and liability. The current bill is neither the perfect bill we hoped for, nor is it stripped of all its effectiveness. Instead, the Neighborhood Food Act, once signed into law, will take a strong first step towards integrating food-growing into the fabric of urban and suburban communities across California. Giving tenants, who make up 40% of the population of the state, the right to grow food, whether in containers or in the ground, will empower them to take control over their food consumption choices, their finances, and their health. Additionally, we recognize the importance of codifying into law the approval of personal agriculture for homeowners who live in common interest developments, or HOAs. As California continues to grow, more people will find themselves living in HOAs, and it is important to protect their rights to grow food for personal consumption.
Now, the bill moves to the Senate, where we will continue to educate and advocate for the bill's passage as a step toward a more just and healthy California. As we did in the Assembly, we will be calling upon YOU as the constituents who will benefit from this law to raise your voices by calling, writing, faxing, and tweeting your State Senators to show them your support and enthusiasm for the Neighborhood Food Act. Here are some of the ways that you can help!
As a citizen advocate, you can give yourself a voice in the legislative process by calling your State Senator's office and telling them that you support AB 2561 and that you want them to do the same. To find your State Senator, click here. For a suggested phone script, see our main Neighborhood Food Act page.
As a tenant or homeowner in a common interest development facing barriers to growing your own food, you can become a storyteller to help educate legislators about the need for this law. If you have experienced barriers to growing food for your own use, please let us know by emailing us at Neil@theselc.org.
As a supporter of our work, you can donate to SELC to empower us to continue our research, education, advice, and advocacy to build stronger local economies, founded on community-ownership and cooperative governance!
Thank you for your continued support as we fight for the rights of all Californians to grow and eat the food they choose!