USDA grant will help feed hungry Kentuckians

Published 9:24 am Friday, August 19, 2022

NEWS RELEASE

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Food Distribution Division has received a $5.4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency, Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles recently announced.

“Kentucky’s rich agricultural land doesn’t shield its residents from food insecurities. With one in seven Kentuckians, including one in six children, facing food struggles, we are extremely excited for the opportunities this grant presents,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We will be able to provide quality food to those who need it most. Our KDA Food Distribution team will work hard to get the most out of this USDA grant resulting in the biggest impact for our state.”

KDA received $5,491,119 from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Through this program, USDA will award up to $400 million nationwide through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.

“USDA is excited to partner with Kentucky 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.”

With the assistance of the LFPA funding, KDA will administer the funds through three main projects. Two of the projects will include a partnership with the Feeding Kentucky network of food banks to purchase and distribute food; and the expansion of frozen meal preparation and distribution programs at non-profit organizations.

The third project will focus on providing boxed food items from a variety of producers to food-insecure Kentuckians. Boxes may include partially prepared or processed items to make meal preparation easier for recipients. Food purchases will be made through local Kentucky producers at fair market prices to establish and strengthen market channels. A primary goal is that these partnerships will develop into sustainable, long-term commercial relationships for local producers.

KDA’s partner agencies for this grant distribution include the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service, the Kentucky State University’s Small Farm Program, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Feeding Kentucky network of Food Banks.

The LFPA program is part of the “Build Back Better” initiative, authorized by the American Rescue Plan. The cooperative agreements will allow for state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious and unique to their geographic area. The food will meet the needs of the population, and serve feeding programs, including food banks, schools and organizations that reach underserved communities. In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and socially disadvantaged producers.