LORAIN — New legislation would help the economy by connecting local farmers with local shoppers who want fresh and nutritious food, said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The new Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act is a bill that addresses farming and food distribution by Ohio growers and would encourage consumers to buy Ohio-grown produce, Brown said.

“Linking Ohio producers with Ohio consumers is common sense,” Brown said. “By increasing access to fresh, local foods, we can expand markets for Ohio’s agricultural producers while improving health, creating jobs, and strengthening our economy.”

Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than four decades. He spoke about the bill with Tom Freitas, dining services supervisor for Sandusky City Schools, which buys local produce for student lunches, and Jeff Eschmeyer, a Shelby County farmer who sells 35 kinds of vegetables through community supported agriculture, or CSA.

Food services and agriculture is Ohio’s leading industry, responsible for one in seven jobs in the state, Brown said. He added he has heard from farmers who want to expand their markets and from residents who want to buy fresh food for their families.

The new bill would help farmers sell directly to consumers, Brown said.

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