New county program will use millions of dollars to help San Diego County farmers

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Story by John Carroll  |  See full story on KPBS
Contributors: Mike Damron

So, how does it work? For the answer, we turned to County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. She was the driving force behind what’s called the Sustainable, Equitable and Local Food Sourcing Program. It launched in early December.

“We’re the county. We’re here to be a partner.  It’s millions and millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money — of San Diego taxpayer money — we spend every single year, and we should  be spending to support our local economy," Lawson-Remer said.

To be clear, this is not an increase in spending. Lawson-Remer said the money would be spent anyway. The county buys a lot of food that feeds lots of people; everyone from children in school to people in jail.

What’s different now is a set of values that the people who procure food for the county will have to follow.

Lawson-Remer said the core values are around "equity and local sourcing and environmental sustainability and workers," and added that now, when procurement bids are put out, the most competitive bids will be from those "that can show that they treat their workers well; they can show that they have regenerative and organic farming practices that are local, and can show that they give back to the local economy."

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