NEWS: Committee Moves Food Security Legislation

Local preference would improve health, support local farms and businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2014

Today, the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee passed House Bill 238 from Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) to increase the amount of food Alaska agencies buy from local sources.

“With just five percent of our food grown in state, we must do more to address food security by supporting those who grow and produce food here in Alaska,” said Tarr. “I’ve been working with Alaskan farmers for over a decade, and this measure can provide economic development opportunities for Alaskan businesses. I appreciate the committee’s detailed consideration of the legislation, and I look forward to continuing the process to make it law.”

The measure (HB238) allows state agencies more flexibility to purchase Alaska grown, even if the cost is slightly more. The bill addresses the Alaska preference statute, commonly referred to as the seven percent Statute, which requires state agencies buy Alaska grown if the price is within seven percent of the price of other items. This bill increases that to 12 percent. Strengthening the use of the seven percent statute is a priority of the Alaska Food Policy Council.

The bill now moves to the House Finance Committee for consideration.

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