First in the nation Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement awarded to Colorado

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Applications for Colorado grant recipients are open, Colorado encourages all to apply

The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is proud to announce Colorado as the first state to receive the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, joined the announcement, along with CDHS executive Director Michelle Barnes and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. Colorado was awarded nearly $3.9 million and applications will be open through May 25.

Colorado will be awarding two-year grants with this funding, and applications have opened. This grant will provide funding targeted for local and regional socially disadvantaged producers for food purchases distributed in underserved communities. CDHS will accept grant applications for projects that design innovative procurement programs that strengthen the local and regional food system and purchase foods that are healthy, nutritious, and unique to the geographic area.

“We are in a unique position to connect new and historically underrepresented communities to healthy, local food,” said CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes. “CDHS is passionate about alleviating hunger across the state, and we are proud to partner with the USDA on this important effort to bolster food access. We hope this program touches those in need of food, as well as farmers, ranchers and food producers, in as many regions of Colorado as possible.”

Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel and several rounds of awards are expected. The locally grown food will be distributed to underserved populations in need of nutrition support through food banks, food pantries, schools or congregate feeding sites. In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and socially disadvantaged producers.

“The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program demonstrates USDA’s commitment to working with state and tribal governments to strengthen local partnerships, address food insecurity, and expand market opportunities for local agricultural products,” said USDA Under Secretary Moffitt. “USDA is excited to partner with Colorado on this first cooperative agreement to better support historically underserved producers and ensure that underserved communities have increased access to locally sourced, healthy, and nutritious food.”

“This partnership between DHS, CDA, and USDA will help strengthen relationships between local growers and food access programs. It also creates new market opportunities for producers who are meeting Colorado residents’ desire for food grown in their own communities,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “The grants will create a great opportunity for Colorado producers to bring fresh, nutritious, Colorado-grown food to communities with low access to healthy foods.”

The goals of this grant work are:

  • To support local food producers and socially disadvantaged farmers and food producers
  • To establish, strengthen and broaden partnerships with producers and the food distribution community, local food networks and nonprofits distributing fresh and nutrition foods in rural, remote, and underserved communities
  • To provide an opportunity for states and federally recognized tribal governments to strengthen their local and regional food system
  • To build and strengthen relationships and purchase and distribution channels, which continue past the conclusion of the LFPA grant program
  • To provide opportunities to purchase food directly from farmers and producers in as many regions of Colorado as possible
  • To provide opportunities for food distribution is as many regions of Colorado as possible

Interested applicants can find the application and more information, visit the ColoradoVSS portal and select “Public Search” in the left navigation menu. Search for the notice using the keyword “2022000350” for the "Local Food Procurement Agreement RFA".

Watch the press conference on the CDHS Facebook page.

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