Assembly bill would create state’s ‘Office of Farm to Fork’

A buzzword familiar to Sacramento foodies may soon be the official name of a statewide office. AB 2413, which is sponsored by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, would create the Office of Farm to Fork within the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Among other provisions, the Office of Farm to Fork would promote healthy food access, especially in underserved communities, and seek collaborations between public health agencies, farmers and other parties.

AB 2413 was introduced Friday, the deadline for bills to be introduced in the 2014 legislative session. AB 2413 has a ways to go before officially becoming law and creating the department. It will have to make its way through the committee process, before being passed by both the Assembly and Senate floors and then signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Sacramento was meanwhile self-christened as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” in 2012, and played host to an inaugural “Farm-to-Fork Week” that included a Capitol Mall festival attended by more than 25,000. The “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” campaign was founded through a local consortium of chefs, restaurateurs, the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau and civic officials, including Mayor Kevin Johnson. Along with promoting the region’s rich agricultural heritage and culinary community, the campaign has also sought to increase the access of locally sourced produce to schools and communities.

Some figureheads of the local farm-to-fork movement were surprised to hear of AB 2413, including Patrick Mulvaney of midtown’s Mulvaney’s B&L. We’ll have more information soon on AB 2413, but in the meantime you can read the full bill text here.

Update: Will Shuck, the communications director for Speaker Perez, called to clarify the goals and background behind AB 2413. The bill isn’t aimed at local restaurateurs or local farm-to-fork initiatives, but geared toward broader efforts toward food access and building healthy communities.

“It’s as much about health and low-carbon footprints, and the broader farm-to-fork movement,” said Shuck. “It’s about people who have very few (food) choices.”

Update: AB 2413 is a nearly identical bill to AB 38, which was introduced by Perez in December of 2012. AB 38 would similarly have created the Office of Farm to Fork, and passed through the Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture with a 7-0 vote in May. However, the bill ultimately died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee because of cost.


* ‘Farm-to-Fork’ 2014 expands to two weeks in September

* Growing Sacramento’s ‘Farm-to-Fork Week’