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"Local Farms - Healthy Kids Act" Passed by WA State Legislature

In March 2008, Washington State enacted legislation and that aims to increase access to healthy foods and expand the market for local agricultural products. The "Local Farms - Healthy Kids and Communities Act" establishes a state Farm to School Program within the Washington State Department of Agriculture to increase procurement of Washington grown foods by connecting schools with farmers and providing technical assistance. $1,490,000 was appropriated to implement the legislation including $600,000 per year to establish a Washington Grown Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grants program that will allow schools to purchase locally-produced, nutritious snacks. Barriers that have limited the procurement of local products by schools and other state institutions are also addressed by the legislation.

Programs included in the legislation also aim to make it easier for low income families to obtain locally-grown food. A Farmers Market Technology Improvement Pilot Program will enable farmers markets to accept electronic payment cards, including electronic benefits transfers to increase usage of food stamp benefits at farmers markets.The Act also expands funding for the WIC and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Programs and creates pilot projects for food banks to purchase fresh food directly from Washington farms.

Target Audience

Children, low-income adults, local farms

Region

State-wide

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