Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund
The Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund (LEAFF) was launched based on an understanding of the racism that is present in our food and agricultural systems. It is a program that purchases fresh produce from BIPOC farmers and donates it to hunger relief organizations throughout the Twin Cities Metro area.
The pandemic and its effect on farmers markets, events, and culinary foodservice operations in schools, corporate cafeterias, universities, and restaurants have left farmers in need of new markets to sell their produce so it isn’t left to rot in fields. While some farmers have been able to find alternative routes to sell their produce, others, particularly emerging and BIPOC farmers, face many barriers that make that kind of resiliency unattainable. That’s where LEAFF comes in.
LEAFF helps small-scale emerging and BIPOC farmers survive the loss of their typical markets due to the pandemic. LEAFF will raise funds and purchase, at fair market value, food grown by these local farmers. LEAFF is not a grant, but a guarantee to buy a set dollar amount of produce from each farm accepted into the program. Farms complete a brief application to participate which is reviewed by program partners.
Hunger Relief Support
The food purchased is donated to food shelves and other hunger relief organizations striving to offer fresh and culturally relevant produce to their communities. Efforts will focus on areas where healthy foods have been inaccessible and neighborhoods with a higher density of BIPOC residents because unemployment rates and COVID-19 have disproportionately affected these populations.
LEAFF by the Numbers
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Equity in the Food System
LEAFF partners recognize that our food system was built through the systemic oppression of BIPOC communities, farmers and consumers, and continues to be inequitable. Our goal is to provide resources and support to BIPOC farmers to ensure COVID-19 does not create additional barriers to success, and provides connections to new wholesale markets and technology for longer-term sustainability. We are committed to providing purchased produce to organizations supporting those facing hunger and food insecurity, whether it’s people impacted by COVID-19, communities rebuilding from protests following the murder of George Floyd, or communities that have been oppressed throughout our cities’ history.
Frequently Asked Questions
LEAFF was launched through collaborative work by The Good Acre, Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund, Lakewinds Food Co-op, the Latino Economic Development Center, The Food Group, and the Hmong American Partnership.
The purpose is to help farmers survive loss of markets and income because of the pandemic, decrease food waste, and provide training to farmers while bringing fresh produce to people facing food insecurity.
Individuals can make a donation and seek out and buy locally grown food. Learn about the Local Food is Essential campaign and take the pledge to swap out one non-local item for one item grown by a local farmer.
Administrative and logistic costs are currently fully covered by grants. At this time 100% of your donation will go towards the purchase of produce.
Farmers receiving funds are small-scale emerging and BIPOC farmers experiencing a loss of their typical markets due to the pandemic. A number of these farmers normally sell the food they grow to corporate campuses, colleges and K-12 schools, restaurants, and other businesses that are closed or running at a dramatically reduced capacity because of the pandemic.
Organizations can donate funds, sell donation cards, and promote LEAFF to their communities. For more information on how you can get involved, contact us.
Learn More About LEAFF
Are you a farmer in need? Find out how the program might help.
Connect with Us
Are you interested in supporting LEAFF? We want to hear from you!