LFPA Executive Summary - Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from socially disadvantaged farmers, producers, and businesses in order to address injustices inherent in the current food system. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong, resilient local food system, and the need to meet individuals where they are to ensure there is equitable access to food. Through a collaborative regional model, MDAR will 1.) Contract with Massachusetts farmers, fisheries, producers, and distributors through a competitive bid process 2.) Develop and disseminate locally sourced and produced food to underserved communities; and 3.) Collect data to identify, develop, and maintain a comprehensive database of socially disadvantaged farmers, producers, and members of the Massachusetts food system to conduct outreach and more effectively engage with the state’s agricultural community. Target audiences for the project include farmers, with special consideration to, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Environmental Justice communities, and socially disadvantaged populations. MDAR will partner with and leverage the knowledge and expertise of service providers in the state and regional network, including nine regional Buy Local organizations, community kitchens, food banks and pantries, food hubs, and emergency food organizations. The expected reach of the project will be 100 farmers, producers, and/or businesses, of which at least 40 are anticipated to be socially disadvantaged, and additional interested parties, with a distribution reach of approximately 100,000 individuals.