State signs cooperative agreement to help buy local food with feds

WASHINGTON, DC (KINY) – The US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced that it has signed a cooperation agreement with Alaska under the Domestic Food Purchase Agreement Program.

Through the LFPA, the Alaska Department of Agriculture’s Department of Natural Resources seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.

“The USDA is excited to partner with Alaska to advance economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy and nutritious foods in underserved communities,” said Jenny Lister Moffett, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement program will improve the resilience of the food and agricultural supply chain and increase local food consumption across the country.”

The Alaska Local Food Purchase Program will administer LFPA funding to purchase locally grown and produced foods from Alaskan farmers.

The funds will support the growth of regional agriculture through pilot programs with the Qik’rtaq Food Hub, which includes six geographically isolated villages and Steven’s Village tribal buffalo farm, for distribution to small villages and tribes in their areas.

ALFPP partners with local farmers, village and tribal farms, and farms with a local distribution for those in their communities who cannot geographically or financially have access to fresh, local foods.

The program will provide a source of income for Alaskan farmers and will expand product production, processing and distribution, strengthen regional diets, and provide local foods to underserved Alaskans who have limited access to local foods.

“We are excited to have the local cooperation agreement to help procure food from the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service,” said Mia Kirk, interim director of the Alaska Department of Agriculture. “This funding comes at a critical time for Alaskans and provides the means to purchase locally produced produce for those who may have limited access. It allows us to use our own food systems including food hubs, village farms and farmers markets – as well as develop cooperatives to provide the best locally grown foods For Alaska Food Bank, Village Programs, and Stores.”

The LFPA program is accredited by the US Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chains. Through this program, the USDA will award up to $400 million through noncompetitive cooperation agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers by purchasing food produced in-state or within 400 miles of a delivery destination.

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