U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., is cosponsoring the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, which would expand opportunities for local and regional farmers, make it easier for consumers to have access to healthy foods, and provide purchase incentive programs for fruits and vegetables to those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“The ‘Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013’ is a much-needed, comprehensive bill that emphasizes healthier eating options,” Vargas said in a statement. “Providing residents with direct access to locally grown, healthy food options not only supports the improvement of overall diets and health status, but helps stimulate the economy.”
The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 contains numerous provisions that assist in promoting local farming including, but not limited to, helping farmers build infrastructure to process and sell their food locally, and providing local schools with a credit to purchase local foods, according to a press release from Vargas’ office. In addition, it increases funding for nutrition-based programs, such as the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and community food projects.
“Healthy, local food should be accessible to all. It is imperative that our local and regional farmers have the ability to sell their products directly to those in surrounding communities,” said Vargas. “This bill is a holistic approach to ensure that healthy food options are available to all regardless of their proximity to a supermarket.”