We did it! LEAFF funded in Ag Omnibus Bill

Walz bill

Big news! Funding for our LEAFF program is included in the final 2023 Omnibus Ag, Broadband, and Rural Development Bill!

⁣ We were honored to join together with partners, agency staff, and legislators as Governor Tim Walz signed the bill into law at Medicine Creek Farm in Finlayson, MN on Thursday, May 18th. The funding, a total of $600,000 earmarked for LEAFF ($300,000 in FY 2024 and $300,000 in FY 2025), will go directly to BIPOC farmers so that their fresh, healthy, locally grown produce can make its way to food shelves across the region thanks to our partnerships with The Food Group, Loaves and Fishes, and New Millenium Academy.

In the last days of the session, we opened up applications for the LEAFF program, and between May 2nd and May 20th we received at total of 137 applications. Once we found out that funding for LEAFF would be included in the final Ag Omnibus bill, we were able to accept 76 farmers into the program. That’s the most farmers we’ve ever had in LEAFF and with a $5,000 purchase guarantee for each farmer in the program, that puts us at $390,000 in planned sales through LEAFF, all of which will be donated to hunger relief organizations serving food shelves across the state. This is in addition to the $1,027,000 in contracted purchases we’ve got with 55 farmers for the 2023 season through our wholesale program. This year we’re on track to make yet another big economic impact for our partner farmers, which we couldn’t be more thrilled about.

Thanks to our partners, farmers, staff, and the MN Department of Agriculture who helped us to bolster broad support for the program. And our deepest gratitude goes out to the lawmakers, especially Ag Committee Chairs, Representative Samantha Vang and Senator Aric Putnam, who built a strong final bill together.

Since we opened our doors in the fall of 2015, we’ve learned that advocacy is a necessary component of systems change. To create a food system that prioritizes healthy food on every table we must work differently. Centering farmer voices, leading where we are best positioned, and advocating for system-wide change are all parts of how we are realizing our mission to unlock economic opportunity for farmers in our region through a unique combination of personalized support and market development.

Our first deliveries for LEAFF will begin the first week of July. Stay tuned for more updates about the farmers in the program, where the food goes, and how LEAFF is both investing in our farmers and the health of the communities our hunger relief partners serve.

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