THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to direct that the Secretary of Agriculture encourage institutions operating Child Nutrition Programs to purchase unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products.
Provisions of the law effective October 1, 2008 were initially implemented through policy memoranda and explanatory question and answer communications. A proposed rule was published April 19, 2010; USDA received 77 comments which were reviewed before they issued their final rule on this subject on April 22, 2011.
The proposed rule was minimally modified to expand the definition of allowable products that are included in the definition of "unprocessed agricultural products." Items included in the definition had to:
- comply with the language and reflect the intent of the statute;
- ensure that any processing of agricultural products results in only minimal value added to such products; and
- facilitate ease of use of such products for institutions.
While institutions participating in the Child Nutrition Programs may determine the geographic area for proposals or bids in response to a solicitation, a geographic preference does not guarantee bidders in the geographic area a certain level or percentage of business. It also does not preclude a bidder from outside the specific geographic area for competing for, and possibly being awarded the contract. Rather it is a tool that gives bidders in a specified geographic area, a specific, defined advantage in the procurement process if all other specifications met are equal.