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“Buy From the Backyard Act” aims to increase spending for local food in New York State

ALBANY - The New York State Senate passed the “Buy From the Backyard Act” to promote the purchase of locally grown and produced food. The bill ( S978), sponsored by Senator Thomas Libous (R,C,I, Binghamton), would require that state agencies allocate 20 percent of their total contracts for food from within New York State.

"If every household in New York spent just $15 per week on local food, we could pump $5.5 billion into New York State's economy -- and that's just households,” Libous said.  “This bill will help state agencies join in supporting our farmers and stimulating the economy. We're investing taxpayer dollars right back into our state."

The bill expands upon an existing law, which creates a program that encourages the purchase of local food products by state agencies. Mental health facilities, prisons, universities and state institutions that have food contracts would need at least 20 percent of the purchases to be grown, produced, harvested or processed in New York State.

"There are so many good reasons to buy local -- it supports New York farmers and benefits the community," Libous said. "With this bill, New York State is keeping its commitment to supporting locally grown produce and food. We're also reinforcing the importance of agriculture and its tremendous impact on our economy."​

The bill was sent to the Assembly.