The RI Department of Education (RIDE) will build upon the model developed by the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for use in their recently funded Local Food Purchasing Agreement (LFPA) program to meet the following objectives:
1. Support economic opportunities and a more resilient local food system by purchasing locally and regionally produced, minimally processed or unprocessed, food, targeting purchases from socially disadvantaged farmers/producers in the amount of $560,189 (full award amount).
2. Facilitate linkages between small businesses and schools.
3. Capture, summarize, and disseminate quantitative and qualitative data with respect to program outcomes, including recommendations for long-term sustainability and best practices.
4. Use the LFS investment of resources to strengthen, formalize, and nurture new and existing networks of producers, schools, and aggregators/distributors. These decentralized networks will work together to create sustainable models for program implementation, evaluation, iteration, and long-term coordination and advocacy for best practices in connecting local farmers and schools.
RIDE will achieve these objectives through a combination of subcontracts with local food hubs able to partner with and deliver to schools as well as direct sub-awards to those schools that are not able to be serviced by local food hubs. RIDE will work with Farm Fresh Rhode Island (FFRI) to leverage existing relationships with local farmers/producers and will strive to strengthen newly created relationships established through RI DEM’s LFPA program