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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Gillespie: Program will "support local farmers and other Arkansas-based food producers"

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the signing of a cooperative agreement with the state of Arkansas under the Local Food Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program.

With funding from the LFPA program, the Arkansas Local Food Purchase Assistance Program hopes to support underserved and marginalized farmers by buying and distributing locally grown, produced, and processed food, strengthening the state's local food systems, according to a Sept. 19 USDA Agricultural Marketing Service news release.

“USDA is excited to partner with Arkansas to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt said in the release. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”

“We are proud to be a part of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement," Arkansas Department of Human Services Secretary Cindy Gillespie said in the release. "This innovative program not only provides nutritious food that will be distributed to families in need across our state, but it will also economically support local farmers and other Arkansas-based food producers. It is a true win-win, and we are eager to see the positive impacts that this program will bring to our state."

With authorization from the American Rescue Plan, the LFPA program works to maintain and support food and agricultural supply chains, the release reported. Through the program, the USDA will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments. The agreements will allow both parties to support local, regional and marginalized producers by purchasing food produced either within their home state or within 400 miles of the delivery destination.

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