Feds, state announce local food cooperative pact
ST. PAUL — A cooperative agreement between Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
With $3.82 million in Local Food Purchase Assistance funds, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will establish a program that will allow communities to determine how local food can be procured and distributed among underserved communities.
“USDA is excited to partner with Minnesota 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 undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.
Moffitt added the cooperative will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.
“The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement is an exciting opportunity to increase the amount of local food purchased from socially disadvantaged and emerging farmers and to distribute that food to underserved families,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “Minnesota agriculture is made stronger by our diverse farming community, and this funding will allow for community-based innovation in the design of food purchasing and distribution to support regional food collaboration and sustainable relationships.”
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.