SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, passed legislation out of the House Thursday that aims for state agencies to prioritize the purchase of locally grown food and farm products.
“When taxpayer dollars go toward agency operations, these agencies should make every effort to buy locally made and grown products from Illinois,” West said. “We should support our local farmers and those involved in the food industry that have chosen to make Illinois home and invest in our community.”
Introduced by West, House Bill 2505 expands and clarifies existing law that encourages state agencies to purchase local farm and food products. Under current practice, agencies only considered a food product “local” if every ingredient was grown and processed in Illinois. As a result, products such as locally made jam or fruit spreads would not qualify because an ingredient such as sugarcane was not grown in Illinois. West’s proposal would allow such items to be considered “local.”
West’s measure also encourages state contracts for the purchase of food to give preference to bidders that provide locally made food over other bidders, so long as the cost difference is not excessive.
“Our state’s procurement has a substantial economic effect, and this proposal is a simple, commonsense solution that will ensure our agencies are focused on purchasing local products when possible,” West said. “I want to thank members on both sides of the aisle for their support.”