Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Launches Program to Strengthen Local Food Systems, Expand Economic Opportunities for Farmers
Partnership with USDA, Food Banks, Food Hubs Connects Farmers to Underserved Communities
DES MOINES, Iowa (June 9, 2022) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is launching a statewide program to purchase and distribute Iowa grown and produced food to underserved communities. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Local Food Purchase Assistance program and is expected to bring $1.8 million to farmers for food grown, raised and processed in Iowa.
“As consumer demand for locally grown and produced foods increases, our farmers are rising to meet the challenge,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “This program builds a framework for long term partnerships that will grow economic opportunities for farmers, increase access to local food and improve supply chain resiliency.”
The program is focused on building partnerships between Iowa producers and organizations that support underserved communities. It is expected that at least 300 farmers will benefit from the program. The program has a tiered equitable purchasing standard and will create 2,000 distribution sites with food banks, food hub distribution partners and the Meskwaki Nation. Iowa food hubs will purchase, aggregate, distribute and market products from local farmers across the state.
Iowa Valley RC&D will lead project management and ensure successful program implementation. Other project partners include leaders and experts in Iowa food production, farmer outreach, distribution, aggregation, food safety and emergency assistance. Program committees include procurement and purchasing, community food distribution, and evaluation and financial controls.
Stakeholders interested in serving on a committee or participating as a producer or distribution partner can find additional information at https://iowaagriculture.gov/ILFPA.