WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Northern Mariana Islands under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program. Through LFPA, the Northern Mariana Islands seek to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with Northern Mariana Islands 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 LFPA funding, the Feeding Marianas Food Purchase Program aims to improve the local food supply chain and system by supporting and expanding economic opportunities for local producers. Delivery and distribution will be coordinated with or through collaboration efforts with other government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
“We are grateful to USDA AMS for the opportunity to further strengthen our food production and food supply system”, said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. “The Feeding Marianas Food Purchase Program will maintain and improve local food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through the procurement of domestically-sourced foods from local and underserved farmers, ranchers, and all other producers. Mass distribution of food to underserved communities will be coordinated through local nonprofits, food banks, and other organizations engaging in food assistance programs.”
“The LFPA supports local and underserved producers through building and expanding economic opportunity, and establishing partnerships with producers, the food distribution community, and local food networks to ensure the distribution of fresh and nutritious foods in rural, remote, or underserved communities”, stated CNMI Secretary of Commerce Edward Deleon Guerrero. “As the local agency administrator for the Feeding Marianas Food Purchase program, I want to thank our Economic Development Division for their part in leading the grant application.”
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 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.
AMS looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under this innovative program that allows state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to their geographic area.
More information about the program is available on AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage. (PR)