WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced Wednesday it has signed a cooperative agreement with Washington State under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through LFPA, the Washington State Department of Agriculture seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with Washington State 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.”
Through the Washington State Local Food Purchase Assistance Pilot Program, the state will spend over $3 million to purchase food directly from local and regional farmers and producers. At least 63% of the food will be procured from underserved producers and, of the 500 anticipated food distribution sites, 90% or more will serve underserved communities. About 25% of the funding will be set aside for tribes and tribal organizations.
“Many thanks to USDA for this opportunity; we greatly appreciate it. This agreement will allow us to build on our efforts to both improve the economic viability of our farmers and ranchers and to provide healthy and nutritious food for all Washingtonians” said Director Derek Sandison.
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 the 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.