FOOD is connected to everything we do. We all eat every day. Food is not a luxury.

The health of our children, the future of our farms, and the security of our food systems are linked together in this valuable legislation.

At the heart of this legislation is the health and well being of our children.  You already know that this bill can help stop the rise of diabetes and obesity in our children. You know that school is the best, most reliable place to effect children's diet and health.

There is more at stake here. We can begin down a road to a better future for all of us.

SECURITY is a top priority this year. Every one of us eats every day. How many people think about where their food is grown or how it got to their plate? If we can't trust toys made in China, why do we accept food from around the globe? Sustainable, community systems are safer and more secure. Local food is essential to food security.

We are lucky, here in Washington, to have food growing near our communities. In Skagit, we live in the midst of food growing farms. To continue our good fortune we must support our local food growers, so that they can thrive, so that they will continue to feed us. We must support them so that food will always be near and available, no matter what disaster, natural or man made, might disrupt our transportation system, might damage our foreign relations, might damage crops in other parts of the country or the world. We must not be dependent on foreign fuel to bring food to our community.

Our ECONOMY benefits by spending our money here, within the state of Washington. Why send our tax dollars out of state to buy food, when it is growing right here? Keep the money here, and it comes back into our economy, and into our tax revenues.

Our ENVIRONMENT requires our care to keep our lives comfortable and healthy. Many have made the connection between local food and less trucks driving long distances, wasting fuel. But, food processing, which involves multiple trips for ingredients, packaging, and finished products, uses much more fuel. Local food requires less packaging, less refrigeration, less shipping, less storage, less waste and pollution. Smaller, local farms, are likely to use less petrochemical fertilizers, less pesticides and herbicides, and to be more careful about their effect on their environment and their community.

The OPPORTUNITIES opened up by this proposal are many. The economic opportunities include local or regional food processing, or small business food distribution (trucking) solutions. Learning opportunities for children and adults will connect families to the sources of their food. Farmers can plant more to provide for institutional needs.

The FUTURE is bright. we can make life better for our children, for our food producers, and for everyone in our state.

CHANGE - We can make our food systems work for everyone. We can remove the barriers to serving better food to our children. We can do what is best instead of what we've done before. We can move forward to a healthier food system.

HOPE - We can make Washington a model for sensible food distribution, based on the farmers and the eaters. The food will be better, and the farmers more secure. Communities will not be dependent on outside forces for survival. We will know where our food comes from.

DREAM - Yes, we can go farther to make our region, our state, our local economies healthier and more secure, better prepared for the world ahead. We must start now, with this legislation.

THINK SMALL - The old fashioned "bigger is better" mentality has not worked for our children, for the health and quality of our food, or our environment. "Economy of scale" has grown beyond its own logic, and become a false economy. Small farms have greater control over the quality of the food they produce, and interest in their environment and their community.

Many of our current problems can be much better solved on a smaller, local, community scale. If a home solar system can produce 1/4 of the electricity the home needs, put one on every roof and our power generating needs plummet. If a community bio waste generator can make enough power to run the water plant or emergency systems, build one in every community.

If our local small farmers can produce a majority of the food we need, let's support them, help them, encourage them. Let's give them the economic and legislative support that has previously been reserved for agribusiness conglomerates who have contributed, with help from government, to the disconnect between people and the source of their food.

This proposal is an inexpensive opportunity to put Washington on a better path, to create economic opportunities, in our state, to improve the health of our children, and to improve the safety and security of our food production system. Please sponsor and support this legislation. Thank you.