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As Local Food Movement Grows, Who's Policing the Produce?

By Mattie Quinn
Governing the States and Localities

Interesting look at the booming local food movement and government policy, highlighting Seattle and King County.

...Even in Seattle, Lerman, the food policy adviser, says there’s no way to be certain everyone is truthful all of the time. Her role, she says, is to draft policy that encourages local eating and to convene appropriate stakeholders at the table who would be helpful with those goals. Direct oversight simply isn’t in her purview. Instead, the city relies on various food-based nonprofits to execute the work. For example, Seattle Tilth is an organization that delivers food from local urban farms to low-income residents. Lerman says she’s aware that the organization defers to organic, nonlocal food in the winter when there isn’t much in the gardens. The city may not engage in direct oversight, Lerman says, but by making a conscious effort to align with values-based organizations, the city has a “pretty good idea of where stuff is coming from.”

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