USDA announces Louisiana signs local food purchase assistance cooperative agreement
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2022--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Louisiana under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). LFPA funds will be used to fund the Nourishing Louisiana program which aims to support Louisiana producers and underserved communities.
“USDA is excited to partner with Louisiana 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.”
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) will partner with Feeding Louisiana, five Feed America food banks, non-profit organizations, and community members to support Louisiana producers. Through its partnership with Feed Louisiana, LDAF will purchase food, including fresh produce, meats, seafood, and rice from local growers, targeting underserved farmers, ranchers, and fishers.
Purchased food will then be provided to five Louisiana food banks which will distribute the food to Louisiana residents experiencing food insecurity. In addition to sharing Louisiana-grown food with hundreds of existing partners working in underserved communities, the food banks will work to establish new partnerships in communities where need is high, and resources are limited. Over the two-year grant period, it is anticipated the Nourishing Louisiana program will purchase 1.8 million pounds of food and impact over 130,000 people experiencing food insecurity.
“Reports show that at the height of the pandemic, the number of Louisianans experiencing food insecurity totaled over 900,000. That’s a staggering need that this program can help meet,” said the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. “The program will be providing fresh, delicious, and nutritious food to those that need it most while partnering with our underserved farmers, ranchers, and fishers to help them move their products. That’s an investment into Louisiana on multiple levels and an all-around win for our state.”
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 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 on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.