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New bill allows easier local food buying for BOCES, municipalities

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill allowing local BOCES and municipalities to directly purchase New York State produced foods.

A current initiative called Farm to School allows districts to purchase food from local farms up to $200,000 without going through the state. The new bill would allow BOCES and county governments to do the same.

State Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball said it’s important to maintain good relationships with farmers.

"We have an opportunity to better connect some dots between our grower community and our population that consumes food."

Ball said there are guidelines to how municipalities and institutions purchase food, mainly to protect taxpayers, but they’re not always for the best.

"What seems to be normal and common sense can sometimes get stuck in contracts and language and procurement proceedings."

Senator Pam Helming sponsored the bill, saying it’s important to bring local food into local communities and make this practice a part of our culture.