Burgos bill to get fresh foods to PA schools clears House

HARRISBURG, July 1 – State House lawmakers today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., that would get more fresh fruits and vegetables into schools while supporting locally grown products.

Burgos’ bill (H.B. 2420) would establish the Keystone Fresh Program, which would include three grant programs to provide opportunities for school districts, farms, food hubs, and local food aggregators to incorporate locally grown fresh foods into Pennsylvania schools.

“Schools across Pennsylvania serve more than 157 million lunches per year, providing critical nutrients to children across the state and making them one of the largest potential markets for agricultural producers in Pennsylvania,” Burgos said. “Despite having a child nutrition budget of more than $729 million per year, schools self-report that they spend less than 2% of those funds on Pennsylvania-grown foods. Local food purchasing incentive legislation, like the Keystone Fresh Act, would address this problem by establishing a grant program incentivizing schools to purchase, promote and serve local foods in their meal programs.”

According to Burgos, similar LFPI programs in 16 other states have been an effective and innovative strategy, increasing the quantity of local foods served in school meals and creating an essential market for farmers. Research has shown LFPI programs generate a local multiplier effect of 1.4 for every dollar spent – keeping local dollars circulating in local economies.

The bill also would provide family farmers in the state with more stable economic prospects and ensure that schools have access to fresh, locally sourced foods. Burgos said changing procurement practices takes technical assistance and resources, which is why his bill would also provide funding for farmers to purchase equipment or marketing materials that meet school food market needs. Additionally, it would allocate funding for technical assistance providers to offer trainings for schools, farmers and distributors making this shift in their food systems.

“The Keystone Fresh Act is a win-win-win scenario, fostering economic growth, improving public health outcomes, and nurturing stronger communities, all while nourishing Pennsylvania’s children with the nutrition they require to thrive,” Burgos said.

The bill now goes to the state Senate for approval.


PA residents are encouraged to contact your Senator and ask them to support HB 2420! 

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