Jul 28, 2022
USDA program boosts local crops from California’s underserved farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a program in California that will buy and distribute locally grown, produced and processed food from underserved producers.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the program July 27 during a visit to the Yolo County Food Bank in Woodland, California. It is funded by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, through the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The LFPA is authorized through the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, which invested $400 million to make food more affordable for more Americans and help stabilize agricultural supply chains, according to a news release.

USDA logo“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,” Vilsack said. “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,” he said.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will partner with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) and California Food Banks to purchase food from local and underserved farmers throughout the state serving approximately 250,000 families and provide outreach and education to the farms.

“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,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “We look forward to working with federal, state and local partners to strengthen the state’s food systems and support communities across California.”

The program strengthens the local food supply chain, supporting California families and farmers facing current challenges of supply chain disruption and increasing effects of climate change, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the USDA to build a climate-resilient food system that supports California’s local agricultural industry and communities,” Padilla said.

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.

More information about the program is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.

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