Last week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the signing of a $24.8 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA).
The program provides grant funds to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness (FNW) to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“This influx of federal funds will allow Florida farmers and producers to build sustainable and resilient market opportunities, with an emphasis on small and underserved producers,” said Fried. “By finding new opportunities for our producers, we are expanding our food distribution network to reach underserved communities and adapt to local challenges. I want to thank the USDA for this partnership as we take another step to reduce food insecurity and create a stronger food network for all Floridians.”
FDACS will use the $24.8 million grant to maintain and improve Florida’s food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. The new program will focus on fostering long-term and in-state relationships, with an emphasis on small and underserved producers, to create sustainable market opportunities for state producers and increase the amount of product distributed to underserved populations outside the normal food distribution network. By empowering local producers, the program will connect food banks, food pantries, and other hunger-based organizations with new food sources to address the unique food insecurity issues in their communities. The LFPA program, authorized by the American Rescue Plan and administered by the USDA, is awarding funding 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.
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