H879: Healthy and Sustainable Food Distribution. Latest Version

Session: 2023 - 2024

Passed 1st Reading

AN ACT to incentivize healthy food and to encourage and support healthy and sustainable food distribution systems for north carolina farmers and consumers.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Office of State Budget and Management the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2023‑2024 fiscal year to provide a directed grant to Carolina Farm Trust, a nonprofit organization, to support an initiative to rebuild a decentralized food system from production to consumption focused on health/nutrition and sustainability. The Carolina Farm Trust shall use the funds appropriated by this section for the following initiatives:

(1)        Farm Apprentice Program. – Funds will be utilized to establish and develop career paths into regional agriculture, broaden the agricultural labor force through academic and practical experiences and job placements, create and deploy traveling teams to support rural farmers with infrastructure projects, and provide support to rural farmers in case of emergencies such as sickness or severe weather events.

(2)        Food as Health Program. – Funds will be allocated to address chronic health issues and build healthier communities, create relationships with communities through trained community health workers, create affordable and easy to access produce for consumers, and establish a database to collect volunteer health information from consumers that will help community health workers navigate and address the holistic needs of participants.

(3)        Agriculture Distribution Platform. – Funds will be allocated to develop affordable access points to all communities to build and support a resilient regional food economy, construct a 3,000 sq. ft. regional kitchen with a learning kitchen and event space, and increase the number of regional meat processing facilities and enhance regional supply chains to support farm‑to‑institution sales by small farmers.

SECTION 2.  This act is effective July 1, 2023.