Local Food Purchase Agreement provides local foods to neighbors in need
FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota growers, producers and processers are making an impact in the fight to end hunger for their neighbors in need thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Local Food Purchase Agreement (LFPA) program. Introduced in late 2022 in response to the impacts of COVID-19, the temporary program helps both North Dakota farmers, ranchers and producers along with the state’s food insecure individuals by allocating funds to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture who is teaming up with the Great Plains Food Bank to purchase foods grown and produced within the state. After purchased, the Great Plains Food Bank will distribute that local food to those in need across the state.
The LFPA grant provided $413,295 to the Great Plains Food Bank in 2022 that is currently being used to purchase local product. A second round of funding is expected later this year. Product purchased through the LFPA will be made available to the Great Plains Food Bank network of nearly 200 partner food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens across North Dakota.
“The LFPA opportunity comes at one of the more crucial times in our 40-year history as an organization,” Great Plains Food Bank CEO Melissa Sobolik said. “What makes this program even better is that it is a win-win for local ranchers, farmers, producers and our food-insecure neighbors. The need for food assistance increased by 14 percent last year while food donations dropped by 21 percent. This program is going to help thousands of children, seniors and adults struggling with hunger.”
The Great Plains Food Bank provided food assistance to more than 138,000 individuals in 2022. Meanwhile, the organization received 3 million fewer pounds of donated food than the year before.
“The LFPA grant program is a great opportunity to connect the Great Plains Food Bank with nearby producers and procure local food based on their needs,” says Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner. “In addition to providing food for underserved communities, the program will help create and expand economic opportunities for local and socially disadvantaged producers.”
Any North Dakota growers, ranchers or producers interested in participating in the program can fill out the form HERE. All approved product needs a retail license, and any protein must have a USDA inspection stamp. For additional information, contact Great Plains Food Bank Food Resource Manager Stephanie Erickson at 701-232-6219.
About the LFPA program
Authorized by the American Rescue Plan, the USDA has awarded funding through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments. Currently, 48 states, three territories, and 19 tribal governments have entered into cooperative agreements with LFPA program.