Two important food bills have just been passed in Louisiana. Our partners in the Louisiana Farm to School Alliance are celebrating their work on policy in the state, working closely with their legislatures.
Increasing Farm to School procurement, SB 184 will increase the "small purchase threshold", which is the maximum amount of money schools can spend on a contract to buy food items, without having to engage in a lengthy and complicated formal public bidding process with potential food providers. In Louisiana, the threshold was just $25,000, so most school food purchases required formal bidding, often prevents smaller-scale farmers from selling their food to schools.
SB 184 successfully passed this session and awaits signature in the governors office. The bill increases the "small purchase threshold" to the meet the federal threshold, which is the maximum amount of money schools can spend on a contract to buy food items, without having to engage in a lengthy and complicated formal public bidding process with potential food providers. This session with the support of Senators Thompson and Walsworth, SB184 passed with no opposition and will take effect August 1, 2015.
HB 761: Urban Ag Incentive Zone Bill successfully passed this session and is also awaiting signature in the governors office. The bill creates urban agriculture incentive zones and reduces taxes on land used for urban farming. HB 761 encourages private landowners in urban areas to provide their land for use as farms. This bill also greatly reduces expenses associated with acquiring land for many urban farmers and in turn supports the many initiatives throughout Louisiana to grow more local food.