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State bill would help farmers, consumers

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Sen. Patty Ritchie deserves a round of applause for championing legislation that will help struggling farms throughout New York.

On June 12, the state Senate approved the Food Metrics Bill (S.4061/A.5102) that will set New York on a path toward expanding the use of fresh and locally grown food.

Sponsored by Ritchie, the Food Metrics Bill would require state agencies to establish a 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 agencies to buy more food grown on farms in New York. That means fresh and healthy foods will reach more New Yorkers and taxpayers will save money on the cost of transporting food from distant sources. Northern New York farms will benefit too, because of the increased demand for the products.

Now it is up to the Assembly to act. The Food Metrics Bill is currently before the Assembly’s Committee on Ways and Means, and with this year’s legislative session set to end on June 20, time is of the essence. New York farms can’t wait.

Marcia Bystryn

New York

The writer is president of the NY League of Conservation Voters.

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