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State Policy—Now is the Time!

Contributed by: Erin McKee, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Sen Mike Goggin discusses the farm to school bill
(HF811/SF1346).  Photo: Winona Daily News
Minnesota’s legislative session is in full swing, and a group of stakeholders from around the state have been working hard to pass state level policy supporting Farm to School & Early Care. Now is a pivotal moment for their effort. Building on examples from several other states, their bills HF811/SF1346 would reimburse schools and early care settings around the state for purchases of local foods (up to a certain amount based on number of meals served), support education around food and farming, and provide technical assistance to start or expand a Farm to School or Early Care program.

The bills have strong bipartisan support, and are recognized as a bridge issue positively impacting urban and rural communities, kids, farmers and communities. So far, the bills have had positive momentum: they have passed the House Agriculture Committee and Senate Agriculture Policy Committee, and are waiting to have a hearing scheduled with the Senate Agriculture Finance Committee. After that, the final decision on whether to pass the bill will be in the hands of key decision makers, including the Chairs of the Agriculture Committees, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, with strong influence from the Governor’s Office.

To stay informed about state policy efforts, go to: https://www.farmtoschoolmn.org/ or contact the coalition co-chairs, Erin McKee (emckee@iatp.org) and Ben Anderson (banderson@landstewardshipproject.org)
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