LD 636: An Act to Encourage the Purchase of Local Foods for Public Schools
Bill Sponsor | Presented by Senator Eloise Vitelli
Status | Enacted by the 130th Maine Legislature
LD 636 establishes the Local Foods Fund and addresses barriers that existed within the former Local Produce Fund. LD 636 expands the program to allow schools to source more local foods via other sources, instead of only directly from farms. It increases the cap on reimbursement from the state to encourage more local purchasing using existing funds, schools can now get $1 for every $3 spent on local foods up to $5000. It also expands beyond produce to support the purchase of other local foods including minimally processed produce, meat, fish, tofu, eggs, and value-added dairy products like yogurt.
WHY MAKE UPDATES TO THE LOCAL PRODUCE FUND?
- School nutrition programs report that they would spend more on local products if they were able to receive more in reimbursements since local products tend to be more expensive.
- School districts face many challenges in sourcing local food directly from farmers, and reported that they would be more likely to purchase locally if they could do so from their contracted food service distributor.
- Nutrition programs also reported that expanding the products that can be purchased and reimbursed through the fund beyond only produce to include value-added dairy and protein would make it more likely that they would use the fund.
- Purchasing produce that has been peeled, chopped, frozen, etc would help expand capacity to serve local foods.
- Expanding this fund will eliminate many barriers school nutrition programs face in sourcing and providing local foods to students.
For more information, contact Full Plates’ Director of Advocacy, Anna Korsen