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AB-958 The California Organic-to-School Pilot Program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/30/2019 09:00 PM
AB958:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 30, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 02, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 958


Introduced by Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Eggman, Cristina Garcia, Quirk-Silva, Robert Rivas, Blanca Rubio, Weber, Wicks, and Wood)

February 21, 2019


An act to add Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 49020) to Division 17 of the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to food and agriculture.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 958, as amended, Aguiar-Curry. The California Organic-to-School Pilot Program.
Existing law establishes the Office of Farm to Fork within the Department of Food and Agriculture, and requires the office, to the extent that resources are available, to work with various entities, including, among others, the agricultural industry and other organizations involved in promoting food access, to increase the amount of agricultural products available to underserved communities and schools in the state.
This bill would create the California Organic-to-School Pilot Program, to be administered by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture, through the Office of Farm to Fork. The bill would require the secretary to expend moneys allocated for the program to provide grants for school food authorities to purchase California organic food products for school meals, as specified. The bill would require the secretary to consult with the State Department of Education to determine the recipients and amounts of grants awarded under the program. The bill would require a school food authority that receives a grant under the program to submit a report to the secretary containing specified information and would require the secretary to report to the Legislature on the outcomes of the program. The bill would make the implementation of its provisions contingent on an a one-time appropriation being made for its purposes by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 49020) is added to Division 17 of the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:
CHAPTER  14. California Organic-to-School Pilot Program

49020.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Under the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, certified organic farmers are required to produce food without most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. They are also required to “maintain or improve” soil.
(b) Healthy soils lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, healthy soils improve crop yields, drought and flood tolerance, and air and water quality. Soil building practices enhance biodiversity, conserve natural resources, and contribute other public and environmental health benefits.
(c) California’s Healthy Soils Program recognizes the broad benefits of soil health and promotes stewardship of healthy soils. Organic farmers cultivate healthy soil using practices supported by the California Healthy Soils Program, including crop rotation, cover crops, and application of soil builders like compost.
(d) As recognized in the California Organic Food and Farming Act, California remains the “Capital of Organic Agriculture” in the United States. In 2017, organic sales in the United States totaled nearly fifty billion dollars ($50,000,000,000), and California organic agricultural commodities totaled two billion nine hundred million dollars ($2,900,000,000). In 2016, California was the source of 38 percent of the nation’s organic farm sales.
(e) California grows food for the nation, and more organic produce than any other state, but many low-income communities in California do not have an adequate food supply of their own. Cost and availability issues prevent many of California’s low-income communities from accessing organic food.
(f) School meals can provide a primary source of food and nutrition for millions of low-income California public school students and are a major support for families struggling to make ends meet.
(g) The federal Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables allows schools to form more direct relationships with produce suppliers, including organic producers.
(h) School meals with organic foods offer benefits for health, the environment, and California’s economy by increasing access to organic food for low-income children, decreasing pesticide exposure, increasing climate resilience, and growing the organic market for California farmers.

49021.
 (a) The California Organic-to-School Pilot Program is hereby created, to be administered by the secretary, through the Office of Farm to Fork.
(b) Through the program, the secretary shall do all of the following:
(1) Work with the State Department of Education to assist school food authorities that participate in the federal National School Lunch Program or federal School Breakfast Program in accessing California organic food products.
(2) Identify barriers that prevent schools from accessing California organic food products.
(3) Perform other activities necessary to facilitate the success of the program. These activities may include development of educational materials or programming for use by participating school food authorities.

49022.
 (a) The secretary shall expend moneys allocated for the program to provide grants for school food authorities to purchase California organic food products.
(b) (1) A school food authority that receives a grant pursuant to the program shall use the grant moneys to purchase California organic food products that are all of the following:
(A) Certified organic, pursuant to the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 6501 et seq.).
(B) Purchased on or after the date the school food authority received the moneys for the grant.
(C) Produced in California.
(D) Whole and unprocessed or minimally processed.
(E) Used in meals that are part of the federal National School Lunch Program or federal School Breakfast Program.
(2) A school food authority shall use grant moneys awarded pursuant to the program only for school meals, in an amount that equals the lesser of the following:
(A) The amount paid per school meal by the school food authority to purchase the California organic food products.
(B) Fifteen cents per school meal.
(3) A school food authority that receives a grant pursuant to the program shall not use the moneys to supplant purchases of food products with federal moneys, but may use the moneys to pay for the difference in cost between California organic food products and food products that would otherwise be purchased with federal moneys.
(c) In making procurement decisions pursuant to this chapter, a school food authority is encouraged to purchase foods that are all of the following:
(1) From socially disadvantaged farmers.
(2) From producers who offer educational opportunities.
(3) From local producers.
(4) In season based on the local growing region.
(d) The secretary shall consult with the State Department of Education to determine the recipients and amounts of grants awarded under the program. Preference shall be given to school food authorities that meet any of the following criteria, with greater preference for school food authorities that meet multiple criteria:
(1) Serve the highest percentage of children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals under the federal National School Lunch Program or federal School Breakfast Program.
(2) Are located in close proximity to agricultural production.
(3) Offer universally free school meals.
(4) Participate in the federal Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables.
(e) The secretary shall award at least five grants under the program.
(f) The secretary shall consult with the State Department of Education to develop guidelines related to the grants awarded under the program.

49023.
 (a) A school food authority that receives a grant under the program shall submit a brief report to the secretary that includes all of the following:
(1) The California organic food products purchased.
(2) Names of the farms that supplied the California organic food products.
(3) The amount paid per school meal by the school food authority to purchase the California organic food products.
(4) Student response to the California organic food products.
(5) Any barriers or obstacles the school food authority encountered in procuring California organic food products.
(b) Within 18 months after the date the final grant is awarded under the program, the secretary shall submit a report to the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code on the outcomes of the program.
(c) The report to the Legislature required by subdivision (b) shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The number of grants awarded.
(2) The amount of funds awarded.
(3) A summary of the information school food authorities reported pursuant to subdivision (a).

49024.
 As used in this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) “Program” means the California Organic-to-School Pilot Program created pursuant to this chapter.
(b) “School food authority” has the same meaning as defined in Sections 210.2 and 220.2 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.
(d) “Socially disadvantaged farmer” has the same meaning as defined in Section 512.

49025.
 (a) The implementation of this chapter is contingent on an a one-time appropriation being made for its purposes by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or another statute.
(b) For purposes of making the computations required by Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution, moneys appropriated by the Legislature for purposes of this chapter shall not be deemed to be “General Fund revenues appropriated for school districts,” as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 41202 of the Education Code, and shall not be deemed to be included within the “total allocations to school districts and community college districts from General Fund proceeds of taxes appropriated pursuant to Article XIII B,” as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 41202 of the Education Code.