11-R400

2011 -- H 6287

Enacted 06/22/11

 

H O U S E R E S O L U T I O N

RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN CONJUNCTION WITH VARIOUS STATE DEPARTMENTS AND AGRICULTURAL ENTITIES TO REVIEW CURRENT LAW AND SUBMIT RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON LEGISLATION TO EXPAND AND SUPPORT AGRICULTURE INITIATIVES AND OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE STATE

     

     

     Introduced By: Representatives Naughton, Walsh, Tanzi, Martin, and San Bento

     Date Introduced: June 22, 2011

 

 

     WHEREAS, It is estimated that Rhode Island currently produces only 1 percent of the

food consumed in the state; and

     WHEREAS, Declining global oil reserves, rising energy prices, and changing weather

patterns are generating increased public support for efforts to improve food system resiliency and

expand local food production capacity; and

     WHEREAS, The rapid growth in the number of farmersí markets in Rhode Island and the

tenfold increase in the amount of local food served in Rhode Island schools between 2006 and

2010 demonstrate Rhode Islandersí increasing demand for locally raised foods; and

     WHEREAS, Over the last 30 years, Rhode Island converted 22 percent of its remaining

farmland to development; and

     WHEREAS, The availability of land for agricultural purposes is critical if Rhode Island

is to be able to ensure its food supply by increasing the amount of locally produced food; and 

     WHEREAS, New food production practices already being used in Rhode Island, together

with additional innovative practices now being used in other states, suggest that Rhode Island will

need to update zoning definitions and provisions to accommodate these new food production

practices; and

     WHEREAS, A variety of Rhode Island General Laws have a direct impact on the

continued availability of land for farming and on the ability of Rhode Island farms to expand in

size and number and to be economically profitable; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Islandís agricultural community, working through the Rhode Island

Agricultural Partnership, has published a 5-Year Strategic Plan for Agriculture that makes

specific recommendations for strengthening agriculture in Rhode Island; and

     WHEREAS, State agencies and non-profit organizations are currently involved in a

collaborative effort to study the strengths and weaknesses of Rhode Islandís food system; now,

therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby respectfully requests that the Rhode Island Department of

Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Economic

Development Corporation, and the Division of Planning within the Department of Administration

work collaboratively with the Rhode Island Agricultural Partnership, the Rhode Island Farm

Bureau, non-profit entities, municipalities, public and private academic institutions, and

representatives from the agricultural and planning communities to:  

     1) Undertake a comprehensive review of all Rhode Island General Laws applying to

agriculture;

     2) Study legislation being used in other states to promote innovative agricultural

practices; and

     3) Submit to the General Assembly and the Governor by December 31, 2011, a set of

recommended amendments to the Rhode Island General Laws designed to establish policies and

programs conducive to expanded food production and to the sustainability and expansion of

agricultural operations in Rhode Island; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Directors of the Rhode Island Department

of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Executive

Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and the Associate Director of

the Division of Planning.

     

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LC02936

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