The Pennsylvania Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (PA-LFS) will sub-award funds to School Food Authorities (SFAs) in Pennsylvania that are operating the National School Lunch and/or Breakfast Program and demonstrate interest and some previous experience in sourcing local foods. All funds will be equitably distributed among participating sub-awardees. Funds will be used by SFAs to purchase local and regional foods – unprocessed and minimally processed commodities –from local and regional vendors, with a focus placed on vendors who are socially-disadvantaged or qualify as a small business. SFA’s will, to the extent possible, as allowable under Federal Procurement rules for school food purchases, be encouraged to purchase products grown, raised, and produced within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
With a goal of distributing locally and regionally sourced foods to approximately 1 million school students over the grant period, the PA-LFS will also provide a direct financial benefit to the region’s local food system. Through this program, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) will be able to work with increasing numbers of local producers, including socially disadvantaged farmers/producers and very small farmers whose production capacity can be matched with SFAs. Through the PA-LFS, PDA will be able to achieve the co-equal goals of this program – increasing sales opportunities for the local and regional food system and ensuring that SFAs in Pennsylvania are afforded additional resources to feed our school children during these challenging times.