ASSEMBLY, No. 5377
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 23, 2021
Assemblyman ROY FREIMAN
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Assemblyman STERLEY S. STANLEY
District 18 (Middlesex)
Assemblyman ROBERT J. KARABINCHAK
District 18 (Middlesex)
Assemblyman Verrelli, Assemblywomen Reynolds-Jackson, Vainieri Huttle, Quijano, Assemblymen Conaway, Johnson, Space, Wirths and Armato
Establishes "Food Innovation District Pilot Program."
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on June 16, 2021, with amendments.
An Act establishing the “Food Innovation District 2Pilot2 Program” and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. With respect to the modern food system, which consists of mass production, processing, transporting, and consumption, most food moves from farm to plate through long and complex global supply chains;
b. The standardization and large volumes these supply chains demand do not accommodate the more diverse range of products and companies within the State’s emerging local and regional food sector;
c. This leaves the State’s small- and mid-size farms and food businesses without appropriate-scale storage, packaging, processing, and other facilities and services, known as “food system infrastructure”; and
d. It is, therefore, in the interest of the residents of the State to establish a program to bring together complementary community and entrepreneurial activities for synergistic business and development in the State’s food system infrastructure.
2. a. The "Food Innovation District 2Pilot2 Program" is 2a three-year pilot program2 established within the Division of 1[Food and Nutrition] Marketing and Development1 in the Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the program is to encourage the development of food innovation districts within New Jersey. A food innovation district is a geographic concentration of food-oriented businesses, services, and community activities that are supported through planning and economic development initiatives in order to promote a positive business environment, spur regional food system development, 2[and]2 increase access to local food 2, and support the transition to healthy and environmentally-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic packaging2.
b. The division, in consultation with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Department of Community Affairs, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, shall establish criteria for the designation of food innovation districts. Criteria for the food innovation district designation shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) accessibility to mass transportation facilities and services;
(2) zoning or a redevelopment plan that permits mixed-use development; and
(3) a cluster of interconnected food businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions.
c. The division shall establish an application form and procedure for municipalities to apply for designation of an area as a food innovation district. An application shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) the boundaries of the proposed food innovation district;
(2) an inventory of existing and proposed food-oriented businesses; regional food hubs; community kitchens 2and ghost kitchens2; farmers markets; warehousing, processing, distribution, and related facilities; and other food system infrastructure;
(3) a plan for the development or redevelopment of the proposed food innovation district, which shall include 2[, but not be limited to,]2 plans for:
2[(a) attracting food-oriented businesses to locate within the district;
(b) regional food hubs;
(c) community kitchens;
(d) farmers markets;
(e) warehousing, processing, distribution, and related facilities;
(f) urban agriculture production;
(g) healthy food assistance;
(h) programming, events, and community building;
(i) improvements or developments of public spaces;
(j) marketing and outreach;
(k) other food system infrastructure;]
(a) community kitchens and ghost kitchens;
(b) warehousing, processing, distribution, and related facilities;
(c) supporting the food industry in its transition to the use of healthy and environmentally-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic packaging;2 and
(4) any other information required by the division.
d. The division shall publicize the Food Innovation District Program, and provide links to the application form and procedure on the division’s Internet website.
e. A municipality may apply to the division for designation of all or part of the municipality as a food innovation district. Two or more municipalities may jointly apply for designation of an area as a food innovation district. An application shall not be submitted unless authorized by adoption of a resolution of the governing body of the municipality, or, in the event of a joint application, the adoption of parallel resolutions by the governing bodies of the municipalities.
f. Within 60 calendar days of its receipt of a complete application for designation of an area as a food innovation district, the division shall approve, conditionally approve, or deny the application.
g. In consultation with the Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the division shall adopt guidance and standards for municipalities to promote food innovation districts as places for businesses to locate. A municipality may advertise or otherwise use the food innovation district designation in accordance with the adopted guidance or standards.
h. 2The division, in conjunction with the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center, shall provide resources and technical assistance to at least one food innovation district in the central region of the State and to at least one food innovation district in the southern region of the State to enhance the efficacy of the pilot program.
i. Within six months prior to the expiration of the three-year pilot program, the division shall submit a report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), on the effectiveness of the program, including an assessment concerning the continuation of the program. When measuring the efficacy of the program, the report shall include, but is not limited to, the following metrics for each food innovation district:
(1) the rate of change in the number of businesses;
(2) the rate of change in the number of businesses developing new products or services;
(3) the rate of change in the number of new partnerships with industry specific businesses, companies, or institutions;
(4) the rate of change in entrepreneurship;
(5) the amount of venture capital or generalized funding received from private investors;
(6) the amount of access to qualified personnel and the number of job candidates with relevant skills, education, and training; and
(7) the amount of local sourcing of personnel.
j.2 In accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the Commissioner of Agriculture may adopt the rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section.
3. This act shall take effect immediately 2and shall expire three years thereafter2.