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N.J. bill would revise farm-to-school program to set up grant fund and make local food purchasing mandatory

Under the current law, the farm-to-school program only encourages schools to purchase local food.
A farm in New Jersey
Photo: Shutterstock

A bill has been introduced in New Jersey that would set up a farm-to-school grant and revise its farm-to-school program to require schools to purchase local products.

Currently, the farm-to-school program only encourages schools to purchase food that was grown, raised or caught in the state. Under the new bill, schools would be required to purchase local food if it's available.

The bill would also establish a $2.5 million farm-to-school grant program in the N.J. Department of Agriculture. The grant funding would go towards helping schools in the state source locally.

Interest in farm-to-school initiatives continues to grow, especially at at the federal level. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is investing 60 million in farm-to-school purchasing and also awarded over $10 million in farm-to-school grant funding.

In addition, many schools are turning to local suppliers as they continue to face supply chain challenges.

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