In recent years, Congress and the USDA have directed an unprecedented amount of investment into local and regional food systems to build resilience and equity in the U.S. food system. One of the new programs aimed at food systems transformation that the agency is piloting is the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement (LFPA) program. The LFPA is a two year, $400 million program that creates cooperative agreements with state agencies and tribal governments to procure food from local and regional farms, with an emphasis on “socially disadvantaged” producers, and distribute it to underserved communities – often through charitable organizations and food banks.
This is one of the many ways that we are seeing the gap between local and regional food systems and the charitable food system narrowing.
To support the growing field of “farm to food assistance (F2FA)” as well as the success of LFPA projects, the Wallace Center is providing technical assistance and peer convening to both LFPA implementers developing programs with deep commitments to racial equity as well as folks implementing F2FA projects. This involves facilitating a Community of Practice in partnership with F2FA and LFPA experts, providing targeted assistance to a small cohort of folks advancing farm to food assistance efforts, and diversifying the cadre of TA providers involved in this work.
Years Active: 2021 – 2024