USDA Takes Steps to Support Food Sovereignty with the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 - 1:00pm
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2022 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians 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 Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk 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.”

Food Sovereignty is the Tribe’s greatest food security issue. Through the LFPA program, the Tribe will purchase domestic foods from local and regional producers and target purchases from underserved farmers/producers. The Tuolumne Me-Wuk Food Distribution Program will provide for food distribution and support food sovereignty efforts throughout the life cycle of the cooperative agreement.

"Building partnerships in our rural community has always been important to the tribe.  This cooperative agreement with USDA Agricultural and Marketing Service (AMS) and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians will allow the tribe the opportunity to develop a food distribution program to purchase food from socially disadvantaged farmers and producers under the “Build Back Better Initiative” and in turn create food sovereignty for the tribe and our membership.  This partnership will also give the tribe the opportunity to provide food distribution to native families in our area and surrounding counties; Tuolumne, Amador, Mariposa, Caliveras and Stanislaus” said Tribal Chairwoman Andrea Reich.

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.

AMS looks forward to signing future 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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