DC Food Legislative Tracker

The 2018 Food Policy Legislative Tracker (updated October 2018) highlights food policy in the 2017-2018 DC Council legislative session. We will try to update the tracker as often as possible, but please note the update date in the title. For more information on these bills or other District legislation, visit http://lims.dccouncil.us/.


Existing Food Policy Legislation 

Several pieces of legislation have been passed by the DC Council to set policy for better access to health food for all DC residents. They include legislation and policy around agriculture, food access and the local food economy.

Food Policy Council and Director Establishment Act of 2014– To establish a Food Policy Director in District Government to promote food policy in the District, attract new participants to the local food economy, assist individuals already participating in the local food economy, and achieve the food goals identified in the Sustainable DC plan, and to establish a Food Policy Council to identify regulatory burdens on the local food economy, collect and analyze data on the food economy and food equity, promote positive food policies, and guide organizations and individuals involved in the food economy.

Urban Farming and Food Security Amendment Act of 2015– To amend the Food Production and Urban Gardens Program Act of 1986 to establish an urban farming land leasing initiative; to establish a nonrefundable tax credit for food commodity donations made to a District of Columbia food bank or shelter; and to establish a real property tax abatement for unimproved real property leased for the purpose of small-scale urban farming.

COTTAGE FOOD ACT OF 2013– To amend the DOH Functions Clarification Act of 2001 to permit cottage food businesses in the District to operate without a license from the Department of Health if the specific laws concerning cottage food businesses are followed, to authorize DOH to define food products to be sold by cottage food businesses, to authorize inspections of cottage food businesses if a complaint is received by DOH, and to authorize the DOH to issue regulations concerning cottage food businesses.

Healthy Schools Act of 2010, Amended in 2012– The Act addresses the following areas: Breakfast/Lunch Access; School Nutrition; Farm to School; Physical Activity & Education; Health Education; School Environment; Competitive Foods/Snacks; Health & Wellness setting nutrition guidelines for food available on school campuses.

FOOD, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ACT OF 2010 (FEED DC Act)– To establish a program to attract grocery stores and renovate grocery stores in low-income areas in the District; to require participating grocery stores to employ District residents and provide them with quality jobs, accept SNAP benefits, and accept WIC benefits; to designate a grocery ambassador to assist grocery retailers; to amend Chapter 38 of Title 47 of the District of Columbia Official Code to modify the tax exemption provisions for supermarkets; to establish a program to expand access to healthy foods in low-income areas in the District by providing assistance to corner stores, farmers markets and other small food retailers; to develop a plan for establishing a commercial distribution system for fresh produce and healthy foods to corner stores; and to assist corner stores in becoming more energy efficient.

Made in DC Program Establishment Act – To establish the Made in DC Program within the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). The Made in DC Program shall, among other things, develop an identifier of District created products, raise awareness of locally crafted products, promote the purchase of locally crafted products, develop a logo for the brand, promote the brand and provide support to help businesses utilize the brand. Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) shall submit a report to Council regarding opportunities for a District-sponsored Innovation Studio Space and Marketplace. It’s purpose is to support the local arts, craft, and maker community by providing low-cost membership for access to studio space, high-end equipment, sales gallery space, and classrooms.