Vilsack Visits California to Announce Local Food Purchase Agreement

Brian GermanAgri-Business, USDA

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new local food purchase agreement with California during a visit to Woodland. The effort is made possible through the American Rescue Plan to bolster the resiliency of supply chains. Up to $400 million is being invested as a means to address food affordability and stabilize agricultural supply chains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service has signed the agreement under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA).

Local Food Purchase

“Providing access to new markets for more producers and helping more Americans experiencing food insecurity is going to take new partnerships, new innovations, and new ways of thinking – and the best solutions can often be local,” Secretary Vilsack said in a press release. “This program provides tribes, states, and U.S. territories the ability to work in new and creative ways with their local partners, establishing connections between their producers and underserved communities. The food purchases made through LFPA will provide consistent access to locally and regionally sourced food, helping provide economic stability for farmers, producers, and families, and improve health outcomes through nutrition and increased food security.”

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will purchase and distribute food through LFPA from local underserved producers. CDSS will be collaborating with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Public Health, California Association of Food Banks, and California Food Banks. Approximately 250,000 families will be served through the local food purchase agreement. Outreach and education will also be provided to farms involved in the program.

“Through this innovative program, California will be able to support local and underserved farmers while expanding access to farm-fresh foods for families in need,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We look forward to working with federal, state and local partners to strengthen the state’s food systems and support communities across California.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West