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2019-03-13 / Academics

Bill To Increase Local Sourcing Opportunities For Schools Passes Senate

The Senate has passed S252, a bill carried by Senator Tim Kennedy and co-sponsored by Senator Jen Metzger that will enable public schools to specify a regional preference in their bid and procurement requests. The legislation, which had wide bipartisan support in the Senate and passed unanimously, eliminates the current cap on local purchasing and makes it easier for schools to procure locally.

“Making it easier for schools to purchase fresh, local produce benefits everyone,” says Metzger, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “It will provide a greater variety of the very freshest, local produce for our students while expanding markets and providing a direct financial benefit to local agricultural producers and distributors. As we look to bolster New York’s agricultural sector, programs like these that link the agricultural sector to other parts of the economy are critical.”

Lifting the local purchasing cap may also encourage larger distributors to invest in their connections with smaller regional producers, helping create new markets for co-ops or farms that may not have the resources to independently participate in a bidding process to access local school procurement programs.

“My long-term goal is to see all of our New York schools serving fresh, healthy, locally-sourced vegetables, fruits, and dairy products to our kids,” said Senator Metzger, who has two children at Rondout Valley High School and a third attending SUNY-Binghamton. Senator Metzger has long advocated for farm-to-school programs in her own school district and elsewhe

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