Press Releases

Groups Applaud Governor Cuomo For Signing Important Local Food Bill

December 19, 2013 

Dan Hendrick (NYLCV) 917-207-8715,
Laura Ten Eyck (AFT) 518-581-0078 ext. 300,
John Sheehan (Adirondack Council) 518-441-1340,
Mark Dunlea (Hunger Action) 212-741-8192 ext. 5#,
Richard Schrader (NRDC), 347-210-2594,
Edwin A. Yowell (SFUSA) 212-475-1730
Steve Ammerman (NYFB),

(ALBANY, NY) – A broad coalition of farming, conservation and environmental organizations today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo approving legislation that will strengthen the state’s local-food economy and protect New York farms.

The Food Metrics Bill (S.4061/A.5102), sponsored by Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, requires state agencies to establish a robust food purchasing, tracking and reporting system that will provide baseline data about money being spent on food and the geographic source of such food. The bill also lays the groundwork to encourage state institutions to buy more food grown on farms in New York. Governor Cuomo signed this legislation into law on Dec. 18, 2013. It was passed by the Senate on June 12, 2013, followed by the Assembly on June 20, 2013.

“Governor Cuomo’s approval of the Food Metrics Bill is a tremendous win for New York farms, for our state’s agricultural economy as well as for sustainable food,” said New York League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn. “This legislation will start New York along a path toward expanding markets for locally grown food within our own state – helping farms and increasing access to local, fresh food. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, and thank you to the state lawmakers and advocates who put in many hours of work to make today’s victory possible.”

“This legislation is good for farmers and eaters in New York,” said David Haight, New York State Director for American Farmland Trust. “We applaud Governor Cuomo and the State legislature for taking this important step forward in using state dollars to expand economic opportunities for farmers while improving the health of our citizens.”

“We thank Governor Cuomo for signing the Food Metrics Bill into law. This is an important first step in strengthening New York’s food and farm economy by enabling the state to make informed food purchasing decisions that, I believe, ultimately will lead to more, good New York-produced food on New York agency food service plates, something that will be good for New York farmers and eaters and the environment,” said Edwin A. Yowell, Northeast Regional Governor, Slow Food USA.

“This signed legislation once again shows New York is making locally grown food a priority.  The initiatives that focus on the great things produced within our borders is an investment back into our rural communities, and demonstrates that New York State is leading by example in supporting local farms. New York Farm Bureau would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his efforts to grow our agricultural economy upstate and on Long Island,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.

“Working farms are critical to the economy of the Hudson Valley and New York State, and ensuring a steady supply of fresh and healthy food. The Governor and Legislature’s commitment to establishing a robust food purchasing, tracking and reporting system is an important step toward sustaining regional agriculture and bolstering protection of the Hudson Valley and New York City’s Foodshed,” said Ned Sullivan, President, Scenic Hudson

“This is a critical first step in having New York State support the purchasing of local foods. It will help local farmers, strengthen regional economies, and make us more aware of the carbon footprint of our food system,” said Mark Dunlea, Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS.

“This harnesses the state’s enormous purchasing power to help preserve the state’s farms, grow our regional economy, and put fresh, healthy food on more New Yorkers’ plates,” said Mark Izeman, Director of NRDC’s New York Program. “Hopefully this is but one big step forward on a path toward creating a truly sustainable regional food system.”

“Helping state agencies and institutions inside the Adirondack Park to purchase more food locally would reduce transportation costs and boost profitability for Adirondack farmers, while helping to safeguard the environment,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “Healthy, well-managed farms help protect open space and are an important component of a sustainable Adirondack Park. We are pleased that the Governor signed this bill.”

New York currently has no reliable data on the amount of food it purchases in- and out-of-state. Without a baseline to measure against, it is very difficult to scale up the consumption of local foods, a step which is of vital necessity to New York’s struggling agriculture industry. The benefits of buying local are numerous – it preserves disappearing farmland, it provides a boon to our local economy and it provides New Yorkers with fresher, healthier food.

The Food Metrics Bill mandates that state agencies establish a tracking and reporting program for all food they’re buying. It requires the Office of General Services and the Department of Agriculture and Markets to set guidelines for state agencies on increasing their purchase of local foods. Successful bidders on state food contracts would also have to provide the type, dollar value, and geographic origin of all their food to the procuring agency.

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