LFS Executive Summary – Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) in collaboration with Louisiana State University Agricultural Center (LSU AgCenter) proposes to develop and implement the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) to offer school food authorities the resources to procure locally grown foods from local producers, small businesses, and socially disadvantaged farmers/producers.

The LDAF food distribution program will allocate LFS funding to all Louisiana school food authorities (SFAs), adopting the average daily participation formula used to distribute the National School Lunch Program USDA food entitlement funds. These LFS funds will be appropriated to individual SFAs in a separate planned assistance level (PAL) dollar amount in which each SFA can use to procure local food items through the LFS grant.

LSU AgCenter will provide a list of local producers and pre-selected items that will be offered to SFAs to purchase through the provided LFS funds. Local items offered will include sweet potatoes, catfish, shrimp, and rice and will be available to SFAs through the utilization of existing LDAF contracted warehouses and distribution methods. Alternatively, SFAs will have the option to purchase local foods directly through producers identified and listed by LSU AgCenter and/or Louisiana MarketMaker. Through this method, commercial procurement practices will be used and SFAs can claim invoice reimbursement through LDAF on a monthly basis until PAL dollars have been exhausted.

This project will allow Louisiana farmers and producers the opportunity to explore new market channels, while establishing clear supply pathways to sustain long-term purchasing relationships with Louisiana schools.