20 May 2022, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Alabama under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA).
“USDA is excited to partner with Alabama to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”
With the assistance of LFPA funding, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) will purchase food directly from local underserved producers for distribution among their more than 1,500 partners assisting underserved communities throughout the state.
The ADAI will also initiate subaward agreements with the federally recognized Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PBCI), The Deep South Food Alliance (DSFA), New North Florida Cooperative (NNFC), Feeding Alabama, Alabama State Association of Cooperatives (ASAC), and Tuskegee University. Through these subawards, ADAI will connect underserved farmers to these groups for aggregation, storage, and distribution of their products to families in greatest need while increasing the state’s overall food production.
“Our department looks forward to connecting those living in underserved communities in Alabama with local farmers who grow fresh, healthy and nutritious foods. The fruits and vegetables purchased through this grant will be given to Alabama food banks to feed our most vulnerable citizens,” said Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate. “Our staff has worked hard to establish a network of local farmers to provide a variety of foods, which will enhance the resiliency of the state’s agricultural supply-chain.”
The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Through this program, USDA will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.
AMS stands ready to assist states and tribal governments with their applications for cooperative agreements and looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under this innovative program that allows state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.