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U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the signing of an agreement between the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service and the state of California under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program during a visit to the Yolo County Food Bank July 27 in Woodland, Calif.
The LPFA program was authorized by President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, which invested $400 million to increase food affordability for more Americans and bolster agricultural supply chains, according to a USDA news release.
"Providing access to new markets for more producers and helping more Americans experiencing food insecurity is going to take new partnerships, new innovations and new ways of thinking – and the best solutions can often be local, Vilsack said in the release. “This program provides tribes, states and U.S. territories the ability to work in new and creative ways with their local partners, establishing connections between their producers and underserved communities.
"The food purchases made through LFPA will provide consistent access to locally and regionally sourced food, helping provide economic stability for farmers, producers and families and improve health outcomes through nutrition and increased food security,” Vilsack added, according to the release.
The California Departments of Social Services, Food and Agriculture and Public Health, the California Association of Food Banks and California Food Banks will partner to purchase food from local, underserved farmers through the state, reaching approximately 250,000 families while providing outreach and education to the impacted farms, the release reported.
“Through this innovative program, California will be able to support local and underserved farmers while expanding access to farm-fresh foods for families in need,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in the release. “We look forward to working with federal, state and local partners to strengthen the state’s food systems and support communities across California.”