The New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee has passed three bills sponsored by Senators Steven Oroho (R-24) and Dawn Marie Addiego (R-8) to support local farmers and improve how the state markets “Jersey Fresh” products.
Sens. Steven Oroho and Dawn Marie Addiego sponsor bills to support local farmers and improve the way the state markets “Jersey Fresh” products. (SenateNJ.com)
“Farmers markets are incredibly popular in cities and suburbs statewide. Many farmers will tell you that the demand for Jersey-made produce is growing faster than they can plant their seeds,” Senator Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “We need to bring all of the members of New Jersey’s agricultural industry together and capitalize on this opportunity to stimulate the economy. The food hubs and marketing initiatives authorized under these bills will give local farmers the tools they need to reach even more hungry customers.”
Based on the success of the “Jersey Fresh” logo, S-2444, sponsored by Senators Oroho and Addiego, would authorize New Jersey counties to create, adopt and issue their own promotional labels to market agricultural products that are grown, processed or produced in a specific county. Monmouth County is currently in the process of developing such a label.
“There is no denying that the Jersey Fresh program has been a resounding success,” Senator Addiego (R-Burlington, Camden, Atlantic) said. “Imagine how much our farms, wineries, and mom-and-pop shops would benefit if we had the ability to localize this initiative. Creating ‘made in your county’ labels is a great way to encourage our residents to shop local and support the business owners right in their own backyard.”
Senator Oroho’s second bill, S-3179, would establish the “New Jersey Farm Products and Publicity Fund,” which would be dedicated to funding advertisements for the Jersey Fresh program, and promoting the sale of New Jersey-made farm products. The bill would also allow the New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture to solicit donations for the fund and notify interested individuals, business owners, and organizations of their ability to make a contribution.
Finally, a third bill, S-2822, also sponsored by Senator Oroho, would direct the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to authorize and advise “food hubs,” which are businesses or organizations that actively manage the distribution and marketing of locally-made food products.
Senator Oroho noted that food hubs are designed to encourage farmers and distributors to work together to increase the amount of nutritious, local, farm-made food provided to the community. Identical versions of S-2822, S-3179, and S-2444 are sponsored in the Assembly by Senator Oroho’s fellow District-24 legislator, Assemblyman Parker Space.
The United State Department of Agriculture has been actively working to develop food hubs across the nation in response to consumer demand. According to the USDA, by 2015, there were as many as 300 food hubs across the nation. For more information on food hubs, click here.
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