Proposed bill aims to connect Virginia farms and schools

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- A proposed bill currently going through the General Assembly aims to improve the farm to school initiative.

Currently, when schools are interested in purchasing product from local farms, they are required to enter into a competitive negotiation for any price over $50,000.

The proposed bill would increase that threshold to $100,000, allowing for more informal negotiations.

According to school officials, simplifying this process would benefit the students.

"Sometimes there's a challenge in getting them to eat fruits and vegetables, said Andrea Early, director of school nutrition for Harrisonburg City Schools. "And so our hope is that if we're buying a real fresh product, locally grown, it's going to be the tastiest and hopefully that means that kids will be willing to try it and eat it."

According to Early, the benefits do not just stop with the students, as the act would also help establish a better relationship between schools and local farmers

"It's important to make connections with the farmers in our areas because they are able to come into our schools then and talk to kids about how food grows, where it comes from," said Early.

The bill passed a vote from the House committee earlier this week, and is now awaiting a vote from the Senate.