Senator’s food bill based on study co-authored locally


Senator’s food bill based on study co-authored locally

Athens News – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced legislation based on a study co-authored by an Athens resident that would expand markets for area farming businesses and increase access to locally grown foods.

Brown announced the introduction of the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act on Tuesday, stating that the legislation will boost Ohio’s rural economy as well as improve consumer access to healthy, fresh and local foods.

The Athens County area is a notable hub for the local food movement, with the Athens Farmers Market having a reputation as one of the best open-air food bazaars in the Midwest, and the 30-mile meal movement incorporating more than 100 area restaurants, farmers, dairy producers and ranchers.

In a press release, Brown noted a recent study that was co-authored by Athens entrepreneur Leslie Schaller. Schaller is director of programs at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) here in Athens, where she works developing infrastructure and public policy that enables farmers and food producers to receive entrepreneurial support, resources and capital.

Brown cited the study as showing that if northeast Ohio’s residents and businesses spent 25 percent of their food dollars on local farms and businesses, 27,500 new jobs could be created while increasing economic output by $4.2 billion and generating $126 million in local and state taxes. The study was co-authored by Brad Masi and Michael Shuman.

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