Today's Law As Amended


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AB-1009 Farm to School Food Hub Program.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Article 10 (commencing with Section 590) is added to Chapter 3 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:

Article  10. Farm to School Food Hub Program
590.
 For the purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Beginning,” in reference to a farmer or rancher, means a person who has materially and substantially participated in the operation of a farm or ranch for 10 years or less.
(b) “Limited resource” has the same definition as in Section 760.107 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(c) “Office” means the Office of Farm to Fork in the Department of Food and Agriculture.
(d) “Program” means the Farm to School Food Hub Program.
(e) “Small,” “mid-size,” or any other size, in reference to a farm or ranch, shall be identified based on annual gross cash farm income, using the farm typology developed by the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
(f) “Socially disadvantaged” means a person who has been subject to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of the person’s identity as a member of a group, including, but not limited to, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and women, without regard to their individual qualities.
(g) “Sustainable agriculture production practices or methods” means practices such as organic methods, biological control, and integrated pest management, and ecologically beneficial means of soil improvement, irrigation, cultivation, harvesting, transportation, and marketing for California agriculture based on methods designed to accomplish both of the following:
(1) The control of pests and diseases of agricultural importance through alternatives that reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and petrochemicals.
(2) The production, processing, and distribution of food and fiber in ways that consider the interactions among soil, plants, water, air, animals, tillage, machinery, labor, energy, and transportation to enhance agricultural efficiency, public health, and resource conservation.
591.
 (a) The Farm to School Food Hub Program is hereby established for the purpose of investing in the capital aggregation and distribution infrastructure needed to increase purchasing of local, environmentally sustainable, climate adaptation friendly, and equitably produced food by schools and other institutions, build a better food system economy, support the local farming economy, accelerate climate adaptation and resilience, and employ food system workers with fair wages and working conditions.
(b) The program shall be administered by the Office of Farm to Fork in the Department of Food and Agriculture. The Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program, housed within the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, is requested to consult with the office on the administration of the program.
(c) (1) The secretary shall establish an advisory committee, which shall be known as the Farm to School Food Hub Advisory Committee, for the purpose of advising the secretary in their responsibilities regarding the program.
(2) The advisory committee shall advise the secretary on education, outreach, and technical assistance for the program.
(3) (A) The advisory committee shall be composed of nine members appointed by the office, with three members from northern California, three members from central California, and three members from southern California. Each member may have an alternate.
(B) Four to five members and their alternates shall be an executive or manager of a food supply chain business, including a producer, processor, or purchaser, headquartered in California.
(C) Four to five members and their alternates shall be an executive or director of a civil society organization, or a representative of an academic institution, with expertise in advancing food system improvements supportive of local food systems, equitable access to healthy food, fair labor in the food system, or climate-adaptive and climate-resilient food systems.
(4) The advisory committee may appoint officers and form subcommittees, with chairpersons appointed by the advisory committee, as needed, in order to carry out and fulfill its duties under this subdivision. The advisory committee shall determine the powers and duties of appointed officers and subcommittee chairpersons.
(5) An alternate member shall serve at an advisory committee meeting only in the absence of, and shall have the same powers and duties as, a member in the same category as the alternate member, as described in paragraph (3), except for the powers and duties as an officer of the advisory committee. The number of alternate members present who are not serving in the capacity of a member shall not be considered in determining a quorum.
(6) An alternate member may serve at an advisory committee subcommittee meeting only in the absence of, and shall have the same powers and duties as, a member in the same category as the alternate member, as described in paragraph (3), except for the powers and duties as a subcommittee chairperson.
(7) Members and their alternates shall be reimbursed for the reasonable expenses actually incurred in the performance of their duties, as determined by the advisory committee and approved by the secretary.
(8) The secretary or their representative, the State Public Health Officer or their representative, and a county agricultural commissioner may serve as ex officio members of the advisory committee, in addition to the nine members appointed pursuant to paragraph (3).
592.
 (a) The program shall incentivize the creation and permanency of public-serving aggregation and distribution enterprises, known as farm to school food hubs, which may be founded by charter as a nonprofit organization or a Certified B Corporation. A farm to school food hub shall do both of the following:
(1) Serve as an aggregator and supply chain intermediary for local or regional farms or ranches, particularly those optimizing sustainable agriculture production practices or methods and following fair labor practices. The farm to school food hub shall prioritize, but is not limited to, serving farms or ranches that are small to mid-size, cooperatively owned, or owned by farmers or ranchers who are socially disadvantaged, beginning, limited resource, veterans, minorities, or disabled.
(2) Prioritize, to the greatest extent feasible, distributing food products from the farms or ranches described in paragraph (1) to public institutions and nonprofit organizations, with primary emphasis on public schools and food banks in the region. Distribution of the food products may be contracted to a value-added intermediary, such as a produce, grain, meat, or seafood processor, provided that the food products are ultimately provided on a prioritized basis to public institutions or nonprofit organizations.
(b) The first phase of the program shall be administered as follows:
(1) By June 30, 2022, the office shall request proposals for planning grants to create farm to school food hubs that meet the requirements in subdivision (a). Proposals shall include a five-year business plan, and shall be submitted to the office by September 30, 2022.
(2) The office shall award planning grants of one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) each to three proposals based in northern California, three proposals based in central California, and three proposals based in southern California. The planning grants shall be distributed by December 15, 2022.
(3) One million eight hundred fifty thousand dollars ($1,850,000) shall be available for the first phase of the program. Of those funds, one million three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($1,350,000) shall be used for planning grant disbursement, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) shall be used for grant administration and advisory committee management, and two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) shall be used for technical support.
(c) The second phase of the program shall be administered as follows:
(1) By December 31, 2023, the office shall select proposals submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) and distribute development grants of one million dollars ($1,000,000) to five million dollars ($5,000,000) each for capital and operating expenses for use over a five-year period to at least one farm to school food hub in northern California, at least one farm to school food hub in central California, and at least one farm to school food hub in southern California. The office may, in its discretion, disburse the development grant funds in annual increments.
(2) As a condition of the receipt of funds pursuant to this subdivision, a farm to school food hub selected pursuant to paragraph (1) shall report to the office and advisory committee every quarter for two years after the receipt of the funds regarding the use of the funds.
(3) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, for at least five years following the initial distribution of development grant funding pursuant to paragraph (1), the office shall provide an annual report on the status of the farm to school food hubs to the Legislature, in accordance with Section 9795 of the Government Code. The report shall include information on the progress of the farm to school food hubs in all of the following areas:
(A) Financial viability.
(B) The number and type, with respect to size and ownership, of farms from which food products were sourced, and the volumes of food products sourced from each farm.
(C) The number and type of institutions served by farm to school food hubs, and the volumes of food products provided to each institution.
(4) A farm to school food hub selected pursuant to paragraph (1) may request federal or local matching funds, including, but not limited to, economic development and workforce investment funds.
593.
 The implementation of this article is contingent upon an appropriation of funds by the Legislature for its purposes.