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Local Food Purchase Assistance

 

Image of a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables with the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance logo and text reading "Vermont."

Overview

The purpose of the Local Food Purchase Assistance (LFPA) program is to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency by supporting local, regional, and underserved producers through the purchase of domestic local foods.  

The LFPA program is administered by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and is part of the “Build Back Better” initiative authorized by the American Rescue Plan. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) will administer the program in Vermont through a $500,000, two-year cooperative agreement awarded in July 2022. With this cooperative agreement, VAAFM will maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency by partnering with organizations to purchase food from local and socially disadvantaged farmers and producers and distribute this food to underserved communities. We anticipate receiving additional funds in 2023.

Targeted Projects

Five projects with nonprofit partners began in fall 2022: 

  • $72,000 to The Intervale Center to expand offerings, especially of culturally appropriate produce, at pop-up farmers markets in historically underserved neighborhoods.  

  • $61,765 to The Vermont Foodbank to partner with a New American chicken farmer and local slaughterhouse to offer halal chicken to be distributed to New Americans throughout the state. This project will also purchase and distribute African corn varietals.

  • $50,000 to Abenaki Helping Abenaki to purchase culturally appropriate food for distribution via partner food pantries and distribution sites across the state. Funding will also support increased staffing at one food pantry to expand open hours. 

  • $50,000 to Center for an Agricultural Economy to expand Produce to Pantry offerings that supplies food pantries with fresh, local food. 

  • $20,000 to Capstone Community Action to purchase local food for use in Community Kitchen Academy training program and associated distribution sites as well as their food shelf. 

Competitive Grant Rounds

The Agency administered a competitive grant program in late 2022 to solicit project ideas from farms, food producers, and organizations that will utilize funding to procure Vermont food and distribute to the community.

9 projects received grant funding, with projects starting in spring 2023:

  • $50,000 to SUSU commUNITY Farm to launch an expanded free CSA program to provide locally grown, culturally relevant vegetables for BIPOC families and new refugees.  
  • $37,319 to Conscious Homestead, through fiscal agent Community Resilience Organizations, to expand their Community Care Share Program to distribute locally grown and produced food from BIPOC-operated enterprises to members of the Black and Brown communities. 
  • $25,500 to support Healthy Roots Collaborative, a program of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, to purchase and distribute local food to 20 Northwest Farmacy CSA recipients and 8 NOTCH Clinic mini-fridges.  
  • $19,700 to Community Food Project, through fiscal agent Retreat Farm, to provide 25 free CSA shares to families in need through their Farm Share and other food distribution efforts. 
  • $13,500 to Maquam Bay of Missisquoi to increase operational hours and purchase additional food for their Food Shelf.  
  • $10,800 to The People’s Farmstand, through fiscal agent Peace and Justice Center, to connect underserved community members with expanded local, organic, and culturally appropriate produce at a weekly farmstand. 
  • $10,288 to Vermont Farmer’s Food Center to expand their Farmacy’s geographic service area to increase food shares to rural Community Health Clinics. 
  • $9,850 to Orange Southwest Unified Union to increase fresh farm products in their ‘Food for Thought’ grocery bag distribution for families during school breaks. 

Connecting Farmers/Producers and Organizations with Funding

Are you a Vermont farmer/producer interested in selling products for the projects above? Please fill out this interest form to be connected to this work. This list will be updated periodically.

If you are a current grantee, please contact Julia at Julia.Scheier@vermont.gov for an updated list of potential farmers to partner with.

Program Contact

Julia Scheier
julia.scheier@vermont.gov
802-522-7042

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