WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Vermont under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through LFPA, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Market (VAAFM) seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with Vermont to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”
VAAFM will partner with organizations who will use the Local Food Purchase Assistance funds to expand procurement relationships with local and underserved farmers and producers. Each organization will distribute the food purchased to underserved communities.
“These important investments in our farmers and producers will help grow Vermont’s economy while protecting our most vulnerable” said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Anson Tebbetts. “This innovative approach to feeding those in need will provide healthy food while supporting those who make their living off the land.”
“This opportunity will allow us to purchase food from local farmers and work with food access organizations to distribute healthy, nutritious foods to underserved communities. These investments will create new market opportunities for our agricultural producers and ensure underserved populations experience increased food security during this critical time” stated VAAFM Director of Agriculture Development Abbey Willard.
The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Through this program, USDA will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.
AMS looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under this innovative program that allows state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.
More information about the program is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.