(KTXL) – From fresh cheese and dairy to fresh produce and more, Representative Josh Harder, D-Modesto, wants to take farm-to-school meals to the next level.
“We grow the best produce in the world here in the valley, and yet red tape is stopping us from serving that produce directly to our kids,” Harder told FOX40.
His newly introduced bill, the Kids Eat Local Act, aims to cut back the red tape currently hindering schools from buying locally-sourced food for student meals.
“This effort is going to make sure that we fix it, and make sure that in the fruit and nut basket of the entire world, our kids aren’t eating food that’s being shipped halfway across the globe,” Harder explained.
Harder said the bill wouldn’t just benefit students with more nutritious meals, it would also benefit local farmers.
“In a place like the Central Valley where you have, you know, tomatoes and peaches and milk and cheese, walnuts and everything else this is a perfect location to make the most of this bill,” he said.
School districts spend millions of dollars purchasing food every year. Harder calls it a win-win.
“Essentially this is a new market that supports farmers, it supports growers, and then, of course, it also supports kids,” Harder said.
The bill already has some bipartisan support with a mix of Republican, independent and Democrat co-sponsors.
Harder says he’s hopeful for the bill to pass since it doesn’t require any additional federal funding and only makes it easier for school districts to buy local if they choose to.
“To work directly with local farmers local producers to make sure that instead of, you know, getting that food from across the world, you’re getting it from across the street,” he said.