MARKSVILLE, LA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has signed a cooperative agreement with the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Through LFPA, the tribe seeks to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced, and processed food from underserved producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana 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.”
Through the LFPA funds, the tribe will work with tribal government units such as the Social Services Department, Education Department, Health Department, Housing Department, the Tribal Criminal Justice system, and collaborate with state and local agencies to identify underserved farmers and food producers to procure from and distribute the purchased foods to tribal families facing food insecurities.
“Our local farmers and ranchers are proud nutrition providers and critical to our local economy,” said Chairman Marshall Pierite. “We are blessed to announce this government-to-government agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to provide quality local food to those who need it. Our goal is to bring food sovereignty to those who suffer from food insecurity.”
USDA’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program provides up to $900 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements to enable state, territory, and tribal governments to support local, regional and underserved producers, and maintain or improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination. Funding for the program comes from the American Rescue Plan and the Commodity Credit Corporation.
AMS plans to continue signing 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.