LIVINGSTON, Calif. - California's budget woes – and the state's economy – could be bolstered to the tune of $15.6 billion annually if Californians pledged to eat all locally grown foods one day a week. So say lawmakers and agriculture leaders who gathered today at the state's capitol to urge Californians to Eat Local, Buy California Grown with a new resolution introduced during California Ag Day at the Capitol. A new NSON Opinion Strategy survey commissioned by California poultry producer Foster Farms shows 85 percent of California consumers say it is important to purchase foods "Grown in California," yet millions of dollars are still spent on so-called "fresh" foods from across state lines – more than a quarter billion dollars on out-of-state chicken alone.
The new "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" resolution is authored by Assembly Members Fiona Ma and Cathleen Galgiani, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture. The resolution was announced today by Ma and State Senator Anthony Cannella. Also speaking in support of the resolution at the Capitol were Ira Brill of Foster Farms and Chris Zanobini of California Grown. The resolution, which is quickly gaining support from other California agricultural leaders and officials, calls for Californians to prepare meals made exclusively from California-grown ingredients at least one day a week – Sundays. According to the just-released survey, more than 73 percent of Californians say they would be willing to do just that.
The "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" movement celebrates California, the country's most agriculturally abundant state, which produces 400 commodities and a significant amount of food for the rest of the country. By making a conscious decision to Eat Local, Buy California Grown, Californians can support California farmers who work hard to raise healthy, high-quality food locally while keeping billions of consumer dollars within the state supporting local businesses, communities and families. California consumers can also show support by signing a pledge to dedicate Sundays to eating local on the "Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" Facebook page (www.facebook.com/eatlocalbuycaliforniagrown).
"We've always said it's important not to be fooled by Imposter chicken from out of state," says Ira Brill, Director of Marketing and Advertising Services for Foster Farms who represented the poultry industry at the state event. "But now, more than ever, it's important for us to band together and support our California-grown neighbors. With the budget deficit as it is in California, we need to keep hardworking Californians' money in the state – for the good of all Californians," adds Brill. "Our research shows that California consumers know that the food safety and environmental standards in this state are more stringent."
California maintains a commitment to the best practices in environmental impact and sustainability, animal welfare and food safety, and continues to produce more "fresh" and "natural" products than any other state. The California poultry industry alone sustains more than 25,000 employees and accounts for 22 percent of the state's agricultural sales.
Additional survey findings include:
- Consumers rank poultry (71 percent), produce (79 percent) and milk (78 percent) as the most important food to be California grown.
- More than half of Californians "often" or "always" purchase fresh, local foods (74 percent - milk, 65 percent - poultry, 80 percent - produce; 57 percent - meats) which is in stark contrast to the national average revealed in a 2010 survey by Yale and George Mason universities showing that just 26 percent of U.S. consumers "often" or "always" purchase fresh, locally-grown foods.(1)
- More than 77 percent of California consumers agreed that California has larger bounty/more fresh, locally-grown foods than other parts of the country.
- More than half of respondents were unaware of, and responded negatively to, the fact that nearly half of fresh chicken sold in grocery stores is shipped from states outside of California from as far away as Arkansas and Texas. More than 43 percent of respondents would refuse to buy fresh poultry if they knew it took longer than 48 hours to be delivered to their store.
- 83 percent of Californians say they are more likely to buy fresh chicken that has been grown on farms located in California than grown in other states.
Family-owned Foster Farms, with a more than 70-year legacy of chicken farming in California, joins the California Poultry Federation and other leading agricultural groups supporting Eat Local, Buy California Grown. The company has launched a new communications program devoted to its fresh, local chicken production in California. Foster Farms raises all chicken sold in California on private ranches throughout the state, allowing its chicken to be delivered truly fresh to stores within 48 hours or less, unlike out-of-state chicken which could take four days or more. The 48 Hours program includes new television advertisements featuring the fan favorite Foster Imposters on location in California. The program also includes participation at several consumer events throughout the state. Consumers can learn more about the Imposters' appearance at events and get ideas for cooking locally at www.facebook.com/fosterfarmseatlocal.
About Foster Farms
Since 1939, West Coast families have depended on Foster Farms for premium quality chicken products. Family-owned and operated, the company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. Foster Farms specializes in fresh, all natural chicken products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Based in California's Central Valley, with ranches also in the Pacific Northwest, the company's fresh chicken is produced in or near each region served and delivered fresh to the store in 48 hours or less. Foster Farms also produces delicious pre-marinated, ready-to-cook and fully cooked products that meet the quality and convenience needs of today's home cooks, retailers, warehouse clubs and foodservice customers. The company's commitment to excellence, honesty, quality, service, and people is a source of great pride, and, a longtime family tradition. Visit www.fosterfarms.com/cagrown to learn more.
(1)2010 National survey by Yale and George Mason universities: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216113559.htm
Source: Foster Farms