The California Healthy Foods Coalition recently announced that the California Restaurant Association (CRA) and several additional agricultural organizations have joined the farm coalition’s efforts to promote the benefits of biotech crops and oppose efforts to ban agricultural biotechnology in California.

California’s $51 billion restaurant industry is dependent on California’s family farmers for a safe and reliable source of foods and fresh produce.

“California is home to the finest restaurants in the nation and this is due in part to our access to locally grown produce,” said Jot Condie, president/CEO of CRA. “With the number of consumer food dollars spent away from home growing, restaurants will be even more dependent on California’s family farmers to get the finest and most affordable foods and produce from their fields to our dining tables.”

A statewide poll conducted in May 2005 revealed that 54 percent of California voters think farmers should be allowed to grow biotech crops. The survey also revealed that support grows to 68 percent in the agricultural communities of California’s Central Valley. To date, 14 California counties stand with California’s family farmers in opposition to banning biotech crops in California.

It is estimated every $1 spent in restaurants generates more than $2 in business for other industries. The total economic impact of restaurant sales in California in 2005 is projected to be more than $103 billion. California is home to more food chains than any other state in the country.

The farm coalition also announced several new additions to the coalition: California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, California Floral Council, California Poultry Federation, California Tomato Growers Association, Sacramento Valley Landowners Association, Sonoma County Grape Growers Association and the Ventura County Agricultural Association.

Previously released additions to the farm coalition included the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.