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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: Off to Another Legislative Session

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  JANUARY 6, 2015 --

Happy New Year to all.  We are off to another Connecticut Legislative Session which starts on January 7, 2015.  Gordon Gibson will again be in Hartford communicating our views on the different issues.  Our Legislative Guide should be out soon.  We will be sending a copy to all of the State General Assembly members and the Governors and Lt. Governors offices.  Connecticut Granges will also be receiving a copy.  I encourage you all to review a copy when it is received. We all need to be become aware of issues that members of the Grange have brought forward to the State Grange and have been set as Grange policy.

I spotted an interesting topic in my local newspaper.  The article was originally printed in the Republic-American newspaper.  Todd also saw the same article and it was re-printed in the December Granger as well.  The topic was on possible regulations concerning ‘local’ or ‘locally-grown’ farm produce sold in farm stands.  Farm stands have been increasing in popularity in the past few years with more consumers concerned about the quality and freshness of the food they eat.

Some citizens have been expressing concern about products that are being sold at local farm stands.  In order to operate a Local farm stand the farmer must obtain a $90.00 local zoning permit.  They usually are selling produce from their own farm.  Many are also adding products from neighboring farms.  These farm stands are not subject to the Connecticut farmer’s market rules which require farmers to only sell what they grow.  It is legal to sell produce grown by other farmers in their local farm stand.

This article brought up the subject of what is the definition of ‘local’.  The article did not have a definition of ‘local’ and there were a wide variety of discussions on what ‘local’ meant.  One thought it was within a 75 mile radius.  There is a Connecticut Statute that addresses the definition.  Sec. 22-38 addresses ‘local’ and ‘locally-grown’.  Section (b) states that “Farm products grown or produced within a ten-mile radius of the point of sale for such farm products may be advertised or sold in Connecticut as ‘Native’, ‘Native-Grown’, ‘Local’, or ‘Locally-Grown.’”  The statute also defines ‘Connecticut-Grown’ as only those farm products that have been grown in the State of Connecticut.  If you have a farm on the border of the state and sell locally-grown items from a farm right over the state line you cannot advertise those products at ‘Connecticut-Grown’ but they could be considered ‘locally-grown’ if they are grown within a 10 mile radius.

Some residents have expressed concerns that they have not been made aware that the produce they are purchasing from local farm stands have not been grown on the farm where the stand is located.  There is a suggestion that farm stands be required to label those products which are grown by neighboring farms with the name of the farm where the product originated.  The state Department of Agriculture supports legislation requiring labeling of products from neighboring farms.  According to the article, farm stand operators are not opposed to such a suggestion.


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