Harvesting Healthier Options: State Legislative Trends in Local Foods 2012-2014

Local and Regional Food Systems, Policy & Advocacy

Year of Publication:



National Conference of State Legislatures

State legislatures continue to take an active interest in policy strategies that support local and regional food systems and increase access to local food options. The National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) has tracked state legislation regarding local food production and access since the early 2000s. In the mid-2000s, farm-to-school and procurement legislation were popular. In the 2007-2010 time frame, a number of states enacted laws to increase access to farmers’ markets for those who receive supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits.

This report, funded by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, focuses on state legislation in all 50 states enacted between 2012 and 2014 that aimed to strengthen various components of local food systems. The report is organized into chapters focused on six policy areas with the most state legislative action: local food system approaches; farm to school; farmers’ markets; community gardens and urban agriculture; healthy grocery retail; and food policy councils. The report was created using NCSLbill and law searches; communication with established and new local food system contacts; analysis and synthesis of existing research and case studies; and numerous interviews with state lawmakers, state agency staff, relevant nonprofits and other stakeholders.

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