USDA Takes Steps to Support Food Sovereignty with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Thursday, January 26, 2023 - 1:00pm
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2023--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) 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 Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians 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, MBCI will contract with Choctaw Fresh Produce (CFP) to purchase fresh produce. This will lead the MBCI Produce Purchase and Distribution program to purchase fresh healthy produce and have it distributed among the tribe’s underserved communities while utilizing community-based marketing and outreach methods/activities to promote it.

“We express our thanks to the USDA in their support of our Tribe’s work.  Through programs such as the LFPA, our Tribal communities and agricultural ventures like Choctaw Fresh Produce are empowered to produce locally grown and sourced food products for our people and others in the local supply chain,” said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben. “Proudly, our Choctaw agricultural history runs deep. It is only natural that our lands produce the food, cultivated by Choctaw hands, to sustain and enrich our families and communities.”

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.