USDA, Colorado sign first cooperative agreement for the local procurement of food
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service today, April 13, announced that it has signed its first cooperative agreement under the new Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) with the Colorado Department of Human Services. Colorado is the first state to enter into a cooperative agreement under the program.
“The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program demonstrates USDA’s commitment to working with state and tribal governments to strengthen local partnerships, address food insecurity, and expand market opportunities for local agricultural products,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “USDA is excited to partner with Colorado on this first cooperative agreement to better support historically underserved producers and ensure that underserved communities have increased access to locally sourced, healthy, and nutritious food.”
“We are in a unique position to connect new and historically underrepresented communities to healthy, local food,” said CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes. “CDHS is passionate about alleviating hunger across the state, and we are proud to partner with the USDA on this important effort to bolster food access. We hope this program touches those in need of food, as well as farmers, ranchers and food producers, in as many regions of Colorado as possible.”
Under LFPA, the state will purchase local foods using a competitive procurement process for Colorado food producers, for-profit organizations, and nonprofit organizations such as food banks and food pantries. Colorado will use evaluation criteria to encourage applicants to target production of food by small and historically underserved producers and distribution through food pantries and reach underserved community members. The state intends to publish additional opportunities as awareness of the opportunity expands.
The Colorado Department of Human Services will also partner with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to enhance cross-departmental expertise and program knowledge resulting in strengthened technical assistance to producers and distribution sites and in expanded economic opportunities, including sustainable markets, for local and historically underserved producers.
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 farmers and ranchers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.
AMS stands ready to assist states and tribal governments with their applications for cooperative agreements and 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.
Eligible state and tribal governments can apply to participate in the program now through May 6, 2022, at http://www.grants.gov.
More information about the program is available AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage at https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/lfpacap.
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