Local Food for Local Government

Local Food for Local Government

Considerations in Giving Preference to Locally Grown Food

Government agencies often purchase food to provide meals to people in jails, juvenile facilities, public hospitals, child-care centers, schools, and senior programs and residences. They also purchase food to sell to employees and the public in retail outlets, such as vending machines, cafeterias, and concession stands on government property. 

The process by which government agencies purchase these foods can not only improve American diets but also benefit local food systems - the networks integrating food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management. Improving local food systems can bring jobs and income to an area, and research suggests that local food systems can give residents access to fresher, more nutritious produce.  

ChangeLab Solutions developed this guide to provide an overview of the factors affecting whether a state or local agency may procure locally produced food and agricultural products. An accompanying chart highlights state laws that promote the use of locally grown food and agricultural products in public contracts, to help show when a government agency can give a purchasing preference to locally grown or produced food.

You may also be interested in our other procurement resources: