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Rep. Chris Herrod's bill to ward off any federal takeover of family gardens passed the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee unanimously on Tuesday.
The Provo Republican said his HB249 would ensure that Utahns who want to share their garden bounty with family, friends and other state residents should be free to do so.
"I think it is a basic right to grow your own food, grow your own garden," he said.
Those voicing support for the measure included the Utah Eagle Forum, tea party activists, the Sutherland Institute, Utahns Against Hunger and fellow committee members. A big factor: Herrod had the original wording refined to address what some committee members feared were "unintended consequences."
Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, noted that part of the impetus for the state legislation, the federal Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress last year, exempted home gardens, farmers markets, roadside stands and community gardens.
But Herrod countered: "In reality, everybody is going to be pulled under that law."
The committee also passed HCR7, a resolution supporting public policies that promote outdoor activities for children.
A unanimous committee vote advanced the legislation to the House floor.