To strengthen the resilience of the food system, the Department of Agriculture on Monday announced it would provide up to $ 400 million to state and tribal governments to purchase locally grown food for emergency food aid.
The goal of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Program is to buy food from socially disadvantaged farmers and get it into the hands of underserved communities.
The funds could be spent over two years, the USDA said. The money is part of a billion dollars earmarked this year for longer-term investments in transforming the food system, the USDA said. “One of the lessons of COVID-19 is that the current food system is too rigid, consolidated and fragile. These cooperative arrangements will help state, tribal and local entities to buy food more efficiently from local producers and invest in infrastructure that allows partner organizations to reach underserved communities more effectively.
Additionally, the USDA said up to $ 50 million was available in the form of “reach and resilience” grants to expand access to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in rural areas. , tribal and other underserved areas.
Through TEFAP, USDA buys and donates food to food banks. Some $ 2.29 billion has been allocated to TEFAP in FY2021, including pandemic relief funds.
A report from the Congressional Research Service on TEFAP is available here.
The home page of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Program is available here.
An information sheet on the new local food purchase program is available. available here.