The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program, providing up to $200 million for states to purchase local food for school feeding programs.

Schools and other child nutrition efforts face lingering challenges from supply chain disruptions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Local Food for Schools cooperative agreements aim to allow states to buy and distribute nutritious local and regional foods that are unique to their geographic area, taking into account seasonality, supply chain resiliency and environmental factors.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will award cooperative agreements to state governments for the purchase of domestic foods from local, regional, small, and underserved farmers and ranchers. Local and regional farmers and ranchers are defined as those in the state or within 400 miles of the delivery destination. 

In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local, small, and underserved producers while supporting schools as they transition away from pandemic restrictions and develop solutions to continuing economic impacts of the pandemic.

USDA plans to engage with state governments and involve local organizations including non-profits through the non-competitive cooperative agreements.

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Source: USDA