WASHINGTON, April 20, 2022 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through the agreement, CT DoAg will receive funding to promote economic opportunities for Connecticut food producers. Connecticut is the second state to enter into a cooperative agreement under the program.
“This Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement will connect new and historically underserved communities to healthy, local food while also expanding new market opportunities for farmers and producers,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “USDA is excited to partner with the state of Connecticut in addressing food insecurity and thankful for the state’s early leadership and commitment to the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement. USDA looks forward to working with more states and tribal governments to strengthen local partnerships and ensure that underserved communities have access to locally sourced, healthy food.”
“Funds received through the LFPA cooperative agreement will enable us to continue prior efforts to bring locally grown food from Connecticut farmers to the tables of underserved neighbors,” said Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut actively engaged in emergency feeding programs with a focus on the inclusion of CT Grown products and this offers an opportunity to expand upon those efforts.”
“When we passed the American Rescue Plan last year, we made sure it included support for our local farms here in eastern Connecticut, who have all seen steep drop-offs in revenue and market rates while major purchasers like restaurants, hotels, and schools have all worked to get back to full speed,” said U.S. Representative Joe Courtney. “Our schools are open, people are travelling again, but for our farmers it’s not a light switch that can just be flipped back on—many are working to get back to full speed themselves, and they still see uncertainty in areas of the market. Now, the American Rescue Plan is going to deliver much-needed support straight to them by enabling USDA to work with states to purchase their products directly, at competitive rates, and to supply it to the organizations who are helping feed some of the most vulnerable people and families in our community. The Rescue Plan’s LFPA program is a win for local farms and for our communities, and Connecticut was among the first in line to secure this support for our farmers.”
“I am thrilled that an additional $2.6 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds will be brought directly back to Connecticut communities to fight food insecurity and fortify our local food supply chain,” said U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes, chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations. “This is just one more example of how the American Rescue Plan Act is delivering on its promise: to provide critical resources to communities most in need. These funds will allow Connecticut Foodshare and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to partner with local producers to get healthy, Connecticut grown products to households that need it most, and provide an invaluable opportunity for small farmers in Connecticut. I look forward to continuing to work with Under Secretary Moffitt, Commissioner Hurlburt and my colleagues in Congress to bring assistance back to Connecticut.”
Under LFPA, CT DoAg will purchase locally grown food through a statewide food bank and a competitive grant process serving Connecticut food pantries, nonprofit organizations, and social service organizations. The department will foster in-state partnerships and build sustainable market opportunities for Connecticut producers, with an emphasis on supporting small and socially underserved producers. The goal of these partnerships is to promote fresh, local farm product distribution to underserved communities.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture will also initiate outreach efforts to increase awareness of federal and state nutrition assistance benefits which can be used to purchase Connecticut grown farm products. Through CT DoAg’s work with partners and affiliated stakeholders, sharing of best practices and successes, the department aims to foster sustainable new markets for purchasing locally grown products.
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 farmers and ranchers 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 and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.
Eligible state and tribal governments can apply to participate in the program now through May 6, 2022, at www.grants.gov.
More information about the program is available AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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