USDA Geographic Preference Fact Sheet

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THE 2008 FARM BILL directed the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage schools to purchase locally grown and locally raised products “to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate.” Further, the Secretary was instructed to allow schools to use a “geographic preference” when procuring locally grown and locally raised unprocessed agricultural products. There are many ways for schools to buy local products for use in federal school meals programs (see USDA’s 10 Facts About Local Food in School Cafeterias). While using geographic preference is not the only option for local food procurement, it is a powerful tool and particularly useful in formal solicitations where respondents are ranked and scored.

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