The purpose of the Washington State Local Food Purchase Assistance Pilot Program is to strengthen local food supply chains by facilitating and funding the purchase of Washington-grown and processed food for distribution to people in rural, remote, and underserved communities. Through this pilot program, over $3M will be spent purchasing food directly from local and regional farmers and producers, with 63% of resources prioritized for procurement from socially disadvantaged producers. Of 500 anticipated food distribution sites, 90% or more will serve otherwise underserved communities.
After recent experiences with procurement and expanding distribution networks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to years developing the Farm to Food Pantry Initiative, WSDA is uniquely positioned to pilot two new pathways to achieve these results.
First, WSDA will expand Food Assistance activities by issuing contracts to existing Food Assistance contractors using a traditional TEFAP allocation formula, with 25% of passthrough funds set aside for tribes and tribal organizations. LFPA contracts issued through Food Assistance will empower existing contractors to build or strengthen relationships with producers and procure local food based on community needs, while encouraging expanded distribution networks to include organizations and programs that don’t participate in TEFAP, particularly those that serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and socially disadvantaged communities.
Second, WSDA will issue a competitive grant solicitation seeking up to 10 additional subrecipients with the ability to provide technical assistance and/or procure local food predominantly from socially disadvantaged producers for community-informed, equity-centered household distribution to communities experiencing food insecurity.