The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is establishing a Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Up to $400 million will be awarded from funding made possible through the American Rescue Plan. The funding is intended to be used for emergency food purchases of domestic local foods. Awards will be made through non-competitive cooperative agreements made with state and tribal governments. The establishment of a local food purchase program is aimed at expanding local and regional markets and bolstering resiliency in the food system. Eligible state and tribal governments will have the opportunity to apply for the program until April 5, 2022.
“As we build back better than we were before, we will strengthen our efforts to provide emergency food assistance and expand economic opportunity for historically underserved producers by allowing state and tribal governments to buy and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious and unique to their geographic area,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “This program will help get local and regional agricultural products into schools, food banks and other nutritional assistance programs, and organizations that reach underserved communities. It also advances our efforts to ensure that historically underserved populations gain equal access to USDA resources through a combination of grants, loans, pilot programs, technical assistance, cooperative agreements, and more.”
The goals of the local food purchase initiative are also being supported by another investment of $50 million. Funding is being provided through American Rescue Plan for The Emergency Food Assistance Program Reach and Resiliency Grants. State agencies have the ability to apply for funding support to expand program access in rural, tribal, and other currently underserved areas. The resiliency grants along with the LFPA are both part of USDA’s extensive and ongoing support for food banks and efforts to improve the broader emergency food system.