Food banks, farmers, and food access bill sent to Appropriations

January 21, 2021

Legislation that seeks to improve food access/distribution infrastructure while assisting Virginia farmers and local and regional food banks cleared its first hurdles in the House, reported out of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee by a 21-1 vote and was rereferred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 2203 (Madame Speaker) establishes the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund (VFAP).  The VFAP will provide funding for Virginia farmers and food producers to donate, sell, or otherwise provide agriculture products to charitable food assistance organizations. The Program will also provide funding to local and regional food banks to reimburse farmers or food producers for any costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, or transporting agriculture products donated to such charitable food assistance organizations.  The bill aims to help the over one million Virginians who are at risk of hunger while also directly assisting local farmers and local and regional foodbanks.

The Senate counterpart to this bill, SB 1188 (Hashmi), which was previously reported in the January 19 Capitol Contact, was heard by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee on January 19, where it was reported and rereferred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee by a 15-0 vote.

VACo supports HB 2203 and SB 1188 and has provided testimony in favor of this legislation.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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