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Four years into a law to encourage the state to buy more local, fresh food from its farmers, it remains murky as to how much of the state's $1 billion annual food budget is being spent locally.

This week, a report by the state's oldest public health academy and a not-for-profit farm advocacy group estimated it could be about 10 percent, but noted that data could not be found for major buyers like the state university system, public hospitals, and the state health Department and Office of the Aging.

That followed a September audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whose office found two annual state reports on the issue in 2015 and 2016 fell "well short of identifying all applicable state food purchases," a finding that was disputed by the agencies responsible for the reports — the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, and Office of General Services.

Both agencies on Friday said the state is doing more than ever to promote state purchase of local food.

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