WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2022 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through LFPA, the tribe seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe 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.”
With the LFPA funds, the tribe will purchase culturally appropriate food from regional farmers, with a focus on those operated by indigenous people and nearby tribal nations. The purchased food will be provided to low-income tribal members in areas identified as a desert or those known to have chronic nutritional insecurities. The distribution will occur through the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Elderly Nutrition Program, community centers, and establishment of a food backpack program at area schools.
“The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is honored to participate in USDA’S LFPA program. This program will increase access to fresh, healthy food for tribal members and comes at a critical time as we work towards alleviating increased food costs and addressing food shortages. This is also an important step towards creating true food sovereignty for the tribe.”
USDA’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program provides up to $900 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements to enable state, territory and tribal governments to support local, regional and underserved producers, and maintain or improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination. Funding for the program comes from the American Rescue Plan and the Commodity Credit Corporation.
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.
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