WASHINGTON, June 3, 2022--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Rhode Island under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Rhode Island’s LFPA-funded program aims to improve local farm viability and community health and wellbeing by purchasing locally grown products that will be distributed to underserved communities throughout the state. The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.
“USDA is excited to partner with Rhode Island 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.”
“This is a good step toward helping people in need and getting fresh, local produce and locally-made items on the menu at schools, food pantries, and other nutritional assistance programs,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who helped make up to $400 million available for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods in the American Rescue Plan.
“Helping fresh, locally grown food from Rhode Island farmers and producers to reach communities in need is a win-win-win. We boost business for local agriculture, improve our food supply chain, and provide nutritious food to those in need,” said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “I’m glad to see this American Rescue Plan funding boosting local Rhode Island agriculture and improving public health.”
“The American Rescue Plan Act continues to deliver for Rhode Island families, this time helping to bolster our agricultural supply chains and combat food insecurity,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin. “I thank Under Secretary Moffitt and USDA for partnering with Rhode Island to support our local farmers and producers, and expand access to healthy, nutritious food for all Rhode Islanders.”
“When we passed the American Rescue Plan, we had a clear goal: help the hardest hit communities and workers across the country get back on their feet,” said U.S. Rep. David Cicilline. “This federal investment in Rhode Island will support our hardworking agricultural producers and help bring fresh, healthy foods to underserved communities across our state to combat hunger and promote community health. I look forward to continuing to partner with USDA, RIDEM, and local organizations to help bring federal support to Rhode Island.”
“Rhode Island is proud to have Under Secretary Moffitt here today as we announce this historic new program with the Biden Administration through the American Rescue Plan,“ said Governor Dan McKee. “These new resources will strengthen our local food system and get more fresh, locally grown food to all of our communities, but especially our underserved communities. We are grateful for our farmers in Rhode Island and will continue to facilitate new ways of creating sustainable, viable and local agriculture that supports our food security.”
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) will use LFPA funding to invest in resources to strengthen new and existing networks of producers, community organizations, and distributors to create a sustainable program. RIDEM will administer the program by subcontracting with Farm Fresh Rhode Island who will use their partnerships with nonprofit organizations to purchase food from local and underserved producers, such as refugee and immigrant farmers.
Food purchases will be distributed to underserved communities throughout the state by community-based organizations outside of the traditional hunger relief system. Over the next two years, it is anticipated $474,500 worth of locally grown products from 90 growers will be distributed to 62 community-based organizations serving approximately 35,000 individuals per month.
“DEM is committed to supporting a locally based sustainable food system that is resilient in the face of the many challenges such as the pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by various events around the globe This grant award is a part of our mission to accomplishing that goal,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “We are committed to working with our many partners in Rhode Island and the region to achieve a food system that is equitable, just, and in particular focuses on the needs of socially disadvantaged communities and farmers. We are especially appreciative to USDA for the award and all the partners in Rhode Island who worked with us to put together the application.”
Through the LFPA 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.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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 usda.gov.
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