After the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture cracked down on a seed bank in the Joseph T. Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, hundreds of seed libraries in the U.S. are suddenly wondering if they are breaking the law.
There are seed laws in every state that regulate the sale and transport of seeds within state lines. At the federal level, seed laws govern interstate commerce in seeds. These laws exist to restrict the introduction of invasive species, protect consumers from unscrupulous businesses, and ensure fair competition in the seed industry. But should they apply to non-commercial, non-profit, community-based seed libraries? We don't think so, and we think that seed libraries have the laws on their side.
Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), along with our friends at Shareable and the Center for a New American Dream, published this article laying down the legal argument why seed libraries shouldn't be subjected to seed laws intended to regulate the commercial seed industry.
The Neighborhood Food Act is flying through the Senate, passing out of the Transportation and Housing Committee yesterday by a vote of 10-1. Though the opposition continues to push for narrowing the scope of the bill, we are grateful that Assemblymember Bradford is standing firm to maintain the important protections that exist for homeowners and tenants to grow their own food. We are also excited at the level of support AB 2561 is receiving in the Senate and are working to ensure this momentum stays with the bill as it continues through the legislative process.
Wasting no time, the bill will next be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, June 24th at 1:30pm in Room 112 at the State Capitol.
We continue to hear from legislator's offices that they are receiving calls in support of this bill so we know that all your calls are making a difference. You can keep the pressure on by calling in to the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee before June 24th to let them know they need to show support. We've created a list of the committee members with their contact information. Remember to be polite and sincere. You can use the phone script below when you make the call.
"Hi, my name is (your name),
I am a (renter, member of an HOA, gardener, homeowner, landlord, etc.) and I wish for the State Legislature to pass AB 2561, the California Neighborhood Food Act.
Assemblymember Steven Bradford introduced the California Neighborhood Food Act (AB 2561), to increase access to fresh food throughout California. Many Californians NEED more access to fresh food. What better way than to grow it on their own? As a California resident seeking increased access to fresh, local food, I'm calling to urge (Senator's name) to vote YES on AB 2561 at Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing. Thank you!"
If you live in the Sacramento area and are interested in attending the hearing, please email neil (at) theselc (dot) org, for more information on joining us to advocate for the Neighborhood Food Act in committee.
As the sponsor of the Neighborhood Food Act, we are so glad the bill passed through the California Assembly!
Now, we need your help telling the Senate that they need to follow the Assembly's lead and vote YES on AB 2561, the Neighborhood Food Act!Read more
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!Read more
So there we were, on the brink of changing the world, and we still hadn't found a name for what we were doing! The sharing economy? The community resilience movement? The cooperative economy? The new economy?
Well, at the Sustainable Economies Law Center, our extensive and intensive research has finally uncovered a more precise phrase: The Beatles Economy! Yeah, Beatles. As in The Beatles, who managed to present a comprehensive vision for a better world...in their song titles. Check out our video to learn more!
On Wednesday, April 30, the Neighborhood Food Act passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee by a narrow margin. Assemblymember Bradford worked with the Committee to make some tough decisions to address concerns raised by opponents and some members of the Committee. Assemblymember Bradford agreed to remove the city zoning component of the bill and make some further adjustments to the tenants’ rights section, limiting the growing space to the backyard. We do not believe the bill would have passed out of the Committee without these agreements.
The big property owners' lobby, the American Planning Association and the League of California Cities are trying to kill our bill. They do not want to grant all Californians the right to grow food on land they already have lawful access to.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued proposed additions to the list of allowed foods under the CA Homemade Food Act yesterday. These are proposed additions to the list, so the changes to the list will not go into effect for another 30 days and are subject to change based on public comment.Read more
Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) believes that food industry laws should be scale-appropriate in order to allow casual barter arrangements, micro-enterprise, and small businesses to thrive. This winter, California State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada introduced a bill, AB 2505, to allow small-scale home dairy farms to sell and exchange small amounts of excess milk without needing to have a large and expensive processing facility and jump through other legal hoops.Read more