10 June 2022, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with New Mexico under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The agreement will fund the state’s “Nourish New Mexico” project which aims to strengthen economic opportunities and income security for underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with New Mexico 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.”
Through LFPA, the “Nourish New Mexico” project will purchase food from local small to mid-sized underserved producers. Producers will be identified utilizing the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association’s extensive network of specialty crop producers. Additionally, the association will expand its Approved Supplier Program and work with regional food hubs that prioritize small to mid‐size underserved producers. Food purchases will also occur in agricultural industries that are historically underrepresented in the state’s locally sourced food assistance programs.
The New Mexico Association of Food Banks will manage procurement and distribution of food through the state’s Mobile Food Pantry Program, Farm to Food Pantry Program, and Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. A minimum of 3,375 food insecure New Mexicans and 589 socially underserved producers in all regions of the state will benefit from the program’s immediate and long-term impacts. New Mexico will also work to ensure long‐term sustainability of project outcomes, with a special focus on value chain capacity building, procurement and distribution partner training, and securing state investment for the longevity of the project.
“Anytime we can work together to simultaneously address food insecurity and support our local producers is a great opportunity for our state,” said New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte. “We look forward to the ‘Nourish New Mexico’ program benefitting the people of New Mexico by providing fresh, healthy food, while at the same time, helping to strengthen our local economy.”
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 socially underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.
AMS 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 and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.
More information about the program is available AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.