“This is a critical first step in having New York State support the purchasing of local foods. It will help local farmers, strengthen regional economies, and make us more aware of the carbon footprint of our food system,” said Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS.
New York currently has no reliable data on the amount of food it purchases in- and out-of-state. Without a baseline to measure against, it is very difficult to scale up the consumption of local foods, a step which is of vital necessity to New York’s struggling agriculture industry. The benefits of buying local are numerous – it preserves disappearing farmland, it provides a boon to our local economy and it provides New Yorkers with fresher, healthier food.
The Food Metrics Bill mandates that state agencies establish a tracking and reporting program for all food they’re buying. It requires the Office of General Services and the Department of Agriculture and Markets to set guidelines for state agencies on increasing their purchase of local foods. Successful bidders on state food contracts would also have to provide the type, dollar value, and geographic origin of all their food to the procuring agency.