A bill introduced last year in the Washington Senate is aiming to make it easier for people to grow food in temporary structures on their own properties.

Senate Bill 5508 (SB 5508) was introduced by 7th District Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy) and would exempt temporary structures used to grow food from the State Building Code.

"It's kind of a way to incentivize local agriculture and local food production," says Short. "We certainly saw that during COVID and the impact it had on food supplies everywhere."

In addition to encouraging state residents to grow their own food, Short says the legislation could also prove valuable in the fight against hunger.

"When you think about the challenges of food insecurity and how so many families have a hard time providing for themselves, then what better way to start incentivizing the growing of food in our own communities to help with that."

State laws define a temporary growing structure as any building with a roof covered, rather than the sides and the roof, with polyethylene, polyvinyl, or a similar flexible synthetic material which is used to provide plants with either frost protection or increased heat retention or both.

Washington's current building codes mainly apply to temporary growing structures used only for commercial purposes.

The bill, which stalled in the Seante last year, passed the chamber on 48-0 vote last month and is now being considered by the House.

It's scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Local Government next week.

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