Minnesota First State to Receive LFS Funds

This past Tuesday, August 23, 2022, the USDA formally announced that Minnesota has been awarded the first Local Food for Schools (LFS) grant in the nation. To celebrate the announcement, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt participated in a round table discussion in our classroom. Joining in for the discussion were Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen, Minnesota Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Daron Korte, our Executive Director Theresa McCormick, John Peterson of Ferndale Market, Moses Momanyi of Dawn 2 Dusk Farm,  Angela Richey of Roseville Area Schools, Erin McKee with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and Carrie Frank the legendary (and newly retired) Nutrition Services Director for Dover-Eyota Schools. 

​​The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service established the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) to help states deal with the challenges of supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic. Funds from the LFS program are intended to help schools build supply chain resilience by sourcing local with an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved producers and processors.

“The impact of farm to school programs reaches beyond school meals. Committed purchase agreements and fair market prices for farmers create stable and reliable markets allowing farmers to invest in their business, build community, and help make farming a viable career path in Minnesota” said McCormick. 

Commissioner Petersen acknowledged that the almost $3.5 million dollar investment will more than quadruple their existing farm to school funds. MDA will award the money to K-12 schools through their existing AGRI Farm to School Grant program. It hopes to release applications for the grants sometime this fall and hopes to have contracts signed with schools in early 2023. 

“The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program provides an opportunity for states to strengthen ties between local farmers, ranchers, food businesses, and schools, and gives students access to nutritious foods unique to the area they live in, building stronger connections across local communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. 

Click here to read the full MDA’s press release.