Lawrence, Kan. — Today, Governor Laura Kelly was joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jenny Moffitt and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam at Just Food food bank in Lawrence to announce a new program that will purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food to food insecure Kansans.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) has been awarded a $2.5 million cooperative agreement from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service as part of the Local Food Purchase Assistance (LFPA) Cooperative Agreement Program. These funds will be used to purchase and distribute Kansas-grown and -processed foods to underserved communities and families across Kansas through the state’s existing distribution network of food banks.
“This common-sense partnership will make progress on two challenges facing our state: Food insecurity, and the fact that though more than 50 million pounds of food was distributed across Kansas last year, very little was locally grown,” said Governor Kelly. “Our farmers and ranchers feed the nation – and this agreement will help them also feed their neighbors.”
KDA will work with agricultural stakeholder groups to develop a network of producers, establish a tiered purchasing standard that gives preference to socially disadvantaged farmers to expand their businesses, and ensure that food purchased by the grant is widely distributed across rural and urban communities impacted by food insecurity.
“USDA is excited to partner with Kansas to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”
The local food purchased through this agreement will be distributed through the state’s existing distribution network of Feeding America food banks: Kansas Food Bank, Harvesters — The Community Food Network, and Second Harvest Community Food Bank. Just Food, part of Harvesters’ network, is the food bank of Douglas County, supplying more than 29 partner agencies with fresh produce, dairy products, meat, bread and pantry staples.
“Together our three Feeding America food banks serve the food insecure in every one of Kansas’ 105 counties,” said Stephen Davis, President & CEO of Harvesters. “In a time of increased need and decreasing food donations, we are grateful for these healthy, locally grown foods that we can share with our neighbors in need throughout the state.”
More information about the USDA-AMS cooperative agreement program is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage. More information about the Kansas program is available at www.agriculture.ks.gov/LFPA.
Participating food bank networks include: