Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, has introduced a bill that would help support local farms and ensure healthy food options for students.
The Small Farm to School Act would provide incentives for schools to use food produced at local farms.
It would start with a pilot program, wherein eight states would reimburse public schools at a higher rate for using farm products in school lunches.
“Our family farmers are essential to our way of life in upstate New York, and we should be looking for every opportunity to support our small businesses and farmers, while helping our young people access more nutritious food,” said Delgado.
Many local farms have lost a significant amount of revenue throughout the pandemic, due to a loss of school sales.
"The Small Farm to School Act is the kind of cross-sector solution that will help rebuild those lost markets and ensure that farm to school programs emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said Wes King, senior policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
The bill would authorize $20 million annually to provide 5 cents per lunch, if part of the meal is sourced from a small farm in the area.
The subsidy would be divided between the government and the state.