FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — The Good Acre, a nonprofit food hub, in partnership with six other nonprofits, launched the Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund (LEAFF) this month to purchase produce from small-scale, emerging, and Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) farmers who have lost their restaurant, school, and other institutional markets due to COVID-19 related disruptions. The fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables purchased through the program will be donated to hunger relief organizations in areas where healthy foods have been inaccessible.
LEAFF’s efforts address two key concerns. First, it provides fair market prices to emerging local farmers at a critical time in the season. Second, it delivers healthful food to vulnerable communities who currently lack access to fresh ingredients.
“The groups that came together to start LEAFF saw a real emergency on the horizon,” says Dale Woodbeck, general manager of Lakewinds Food Co-op, a suburban co-op grocer and LEAFF partner. “We need local, small-scale farmers to survive and thrive. Local food is a big driver in our state’s economy and in the communities where these farms operate. All of us who eat can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of local, small-scale farmers by making the decision to support LEAFF and buy local.”
“We are proud to partner with LEAFF to provide the needed emergency relief our BIPOC Farmers and low-income families need during this pandemic and the civil unrest,” says Bao Vang, President & CEO of HAP.“ We hope this model will disrupt the economic system that creates inequitable access to the most vulnerable in our communities.
While some farmers have been able to create online stores or find alternative spaces to sell their produce, others, particularly BIPOC and emerging farmers, have not. That’s where LEAFF comes in. With the fund, individual farmers are eligible to sell up to $5,000 worth of crops to the LEAFF program, which is based out of The Good Acre’s food hub in Falcon Heights, MN.
With infrastructure like cold-storage, transportation, and partnerships already in place,The Good Acre is able to receive, sort and deliver produce to food shelves and other local hunger relief partners. LEAFF is committed to donating fresh food to areas where healthy food access is a priority and neighborhoods with a high density of BIPOC residents, where COVID-19 and resulting unemployment have had disproportionate impacts on the community.
The Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund
- Supports small farms during a time of enormous market and economic instability.
- Pays a fair market price for produce, ensuring farmers are properly compensated for their hard work.
- Donates purchased produce to communities facing food insecurity.
- Prioritizes supporting the BIPOC farming community.
“LEAFF helped save my farm business this year.” Said Khou Lee, a farmer in the program, “I was so worried I could not sell my vegetables. I am also happy that the food will go to families in need.”
To find more information and support the growth of the fund to reach more farmers, visit https://thegoodacre.org/
About LEAFF: Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund is a collaborative effort between the following organizations: The Good Acre, Lakewinds Food Co-op, Latino Economic Development Center, Hmong American Partnership, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Mill City Farmers Market, and The Food Group. These organizations have seeded the LEAFF program with an initial pool of $50,000. LEAFF has also been awarded a $206,000 grant from The Bush Foundation to expand the program. LEAFF is currently accepting applications from farmers on its website.
Donate, apply, and learn more about the program by visiting https://thegoodacre.org/leaff/
— Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund
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