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State Senate passes bill to boost facilities’ local foods use

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The state Senate approved a bill Wednesday sponsored by Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, that aims to increase locally produced food sold to state prisons, hospitals and other facilities.

The legislation would grant agencies access to a list of competitively priced local food products available for institutional sale, according to a statement from the senator’s office. The goal of the state Council on Food Policy is to increase state purchases of local food to 20 percent by 2020.

“The benefits of putting more locally grown foods in our hospitals, prisons and other state facilities are obvious — healthier, more nutritious meals for consumers and a ready-made market for hardworking local farmers,” Mrs. Ritchie said in a statement.

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