MDAR has selected organizations to implement the goals of the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (“LFPA”). The purpose of this program is to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.
What is the LFPA?
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is establishing the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). The LFPA program is part of the “Build Back Better” initiative, authorized by the American Rescue Plan.
MDAR has awarded funds to organizations who will buy food from socially disadvantaged farmers and producers to provide to underserved communities.
The food will meet the needs of the population, and serve feeding programs, including food banks, schools and organizations that reach underserved communities. In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and socially disadvantaged producers.
To self-identify as a socially disadvantaged farmer or producer, please complete this form. Your information will be used to build a database for outreach purposes.
MDAR received $7.5 million from USDA for the LFPA program, and awarded approximately $7.2 million in projects through a competitive proposal process. USDA News release.
Additional Resources for
I'm a socially disadvantaged farmer or producer. How do I connect with funded groups?
There are different ways to connect with groups that have been funded through LFPA.
1. This webpage will be updated with a list of funded groups. Farmers and producers can call or email the project contact to express interest in selling food through LFPA.
2. Register on the MassGrown Exchange. Consider including "LFPA" in your business or product description to identify your interest in the program. If you have questions or need support to register, contact Richard.Leblanc@mass.gov.
3. Complete the self-identification form to receive direct updates on the LFPA Program and other MDAR programs.
Additional Resources for
To help guide and inform our application, MDAR held a listening session for the public on February 3, 2022. Recording here.
If you would like to receive Department updates and subscribe to the Farm & Market Report, please add your email here, or contact Richard.LeBlanc@mass.gov.
Use these additional resources to better understand the landscape of food security and environmental justice in Massachusetts:
- EEA’s Environmental Justice Map Viewer, which houses geographic information on EJ Block Groups and languages spoken in Massachusetts communities.
- The Massachusetts SNAP Gap Map, developed by The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts (www.foodbankwma.org) and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (www.mlri.org), to aid in the identification of underserved communities.
- The Massachusetts Food Systems Map, developed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, to identify food deserts.
Additional Resources for
List of Awarded Organizations
In 2022, MDAR awarded $7,260,000 in Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) grants to 16 organizations across the Commonwealth. The grants seek to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through the purchase of domestic food from local and regional producers, by targeting purchases from socially disadvantaged farmers and producers, and the distribution to underserved communities. The following are the LFPA grant recipients for 2023:
Berkshire Grown – Great Barrington, MA
- Berkshire Grown will strengthen purchasing relationships with socially disadvantaged farmers through their Berkshire Farm to Food Access Partnership Program to distribute to new and existing food sites. Berkshire Grown plans to establish an online ordering system, update purchasing contracts, expand the selection of local food and farm products, recruit volunteers for food delivery, prepare food storage locations, and finally distribute the food and farm products to underserved communities.
Learn more about Berkshire Grown.
Boston Area Gleaners – Waltham, MA
- Boston Area Gleaners aims to apply current best practices to targeted communities of socially disadvantaged and/or small growers and underserved consumers. Boston Area Gleaners will: determine which farmers within their network self-identify as socially disadvantaged and/or small; purchase crops from these growers through formal production contracts; support these growers in capacity building and wholesale market readiness; and donate the contract-grown fresh produce through their partner hunger-relief agencies.
Learn more about Boston Area Gleaners.
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension – Barnstable, MA
- The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Food Access Program developed a multi-faceted initiative to support the critical food access needs of its disadvantaged populations throughout Cape Cod by: purchasing produce from local and regional farmers with an emphasis on socially disadvantaged growers in collaboration with Cape Abilities Farm; supporting the Cape Cod fishing industry by purchasing locally caught and processed haddock chowder and fish stew from Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance that will be available, at no cost, to socially underserved communities on Cape Cod through a strategically designed network of distribution channels; and strengthening the existing network of growers, food producers, social service organizations, underserved communities, and local volunteers to maintain a sustainable food access system.
Learn more about Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.
Coastal Foodshed – New Bedford, MA
- Coastal Foodshed will work through their existing network of more than 65 local farmers and local food entrepreneurs to purchase local meats, eggs, dairy, and pantry items to distribute free of charge at farmers market and mobile farm stand locations to increase awareness of, and foot traffic to, Coastal Foodshed’s locations. Through a robust marketing campaign, and the distribution of items free of charge, they plan to increase foot traffic to Coastal Foodshed’s locations where new customers will also have the opportunity to purchase other local foods and learn about the Healthy Incentives Program.
Learn more about Coastal Foodshed.
Eastern Woodlands Rematriation – Hull, MA
- The overarching goal of Eastern Woodlands Rematriation’s project is to strengthen and fortify indigenous foodways of New England. Through regional intertribal food hubs, this project will scale existing efforts of Eastern Woodlands Rematriation and enable tribal families, and disadvantaged individuals and communities throughout the Commonwealth to access fresh, nutritional and culturally relevant foods and products without worry of affordability and accessibility.
Learn more about Eastern Woodlands Rematriation.
Eastie Farm – East Boston, MA
- Eastie Farm will purchase local produce from farms primarily within 100 miles of Boston to create free weekly produce boxes for residents of East Boston, with an emphasis on subsidized housing communities and the underserved Orient Heights part of the neighborhood. The boxes will be primarily available during the harvest season, projected to be from May to November of 2023. The distribution will be accomplished through collaboration with the Orient Heights BHA benefits team, the Victory Gardens building management, Maverick Landing Community Services, and Grace Federated Food Pantry.
Learn more about Eastie Farm.
Greater Boston Food Bank – Boston, MA
- Greater Boston Food Bank will purchase seafood from seafood producers and distributors in Massachusetts. With a greater capacity to purchase seafood, they will support the needs of two important constituencies in the Commonwealth—those who are seeking hunger relief along with local fish producers and distributors. Through the purchase of 150,000–200,000 pounds of seafood, they will greatly increase the amount of seafood distributed through their network of 600 partnering agencies located in 190 communities in Eastern Massachusetts. This network includes food pantries, meal programs, homeless shelters, and other human services agencies. Seafood distributions will benefit diverse populations including adults, children, seniors, veterans, community health center patients, and students.
Learn more about Greater Boston Food Bank.
Grow Food Northampton – Florence, MA
- Grow Food Northampton will partner with local community-owned food cooperative River Valley Co-op to provide technical support to socially disadvantaged local producers and purchase products from them for distribution through their established programs, Community Food Distribution Project and Food For All, respectively, to low-income, food insecure households throughout the Northampton area.
Learn more about Grow Food Northampton.
Growing Places – Leominster, MA
- Growing Places will implement the Local Food Works Fresh Box program, which will strengthen agricultural supply chain resiliency in the 27 communities of North Central MA. Primary goals include: making local food purchasing from small and socially disadvantaged farmers a priority value by connecting farmers, consumers, and buyers; processing local food products for season extension and easy preparation; creating culturally responsible Fresh Boxes with local produce, herbs, dairy, eggs, and value added products for distribution; supporting socially disadvantaged and small farmers; and institutionalizing a cultural food working group to incorporate an equity lens into rebuilding the local food system.
Learn more about Growing Places.
Hilltown CDC – Chesterfield, MA
- Hilltown CDC will grow the “free-share” option currently offered and develop a “free-market” for in person shopping. The approach will not only increase food security for people in the region but will also create viable market opportunities for rural growers.
Learn more about Hilltown CDC.
Just Roots – Greenfield, MA
- Just Roots’ BE-LEAF: Building Equity for Local Eaters and Farmers program will connect local produce and proteins from Just Roots’ community farm and socially disadvantaged producers with members of underserved communities in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties. The two core program components include distribution of 100 free CSA shares and monthly distribution of 30 free DIY Cooking Kits, accompanied by cooking classes. The DIY Cooking Kits will contain local produce, proteins, and all the supplies needed to prepare a healthy meal.
Learn more about Just Roots.
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass) – Barre, MA
- NOFA will use funding to provide 150 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to underserved communities in Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and the Berkshires. This project will establish a new food distribution pathway through community partners embedded within the communities this project seeks to serve. Funding will be used to purchase CSA shares from socially disadvantaged farmers to give to community partners for distribution within their communities.
Learn more about Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass)
Pioneer Valley Workers Center – Northampton, MA
- The Pioneer Valley Workers Center’s People’s Pantry (La Despensa del Pueblo) will distribute local and regional produce, dairy, eggs, meat, and other healthy foods to over 9,350 immigrants, low-wage workers, people of color, underserved populations, and anyone else in need. They will partner with Massachusetts-based and regional producers, with an emphasis on supporting socially disadvantaged farmers, to bring farm-fresh food and its positive health benefits to these communities at monthly distribution sites in Hampden and Franklin County. Lastly, they will establish a new center in Turners Falls that will serve as a thriving community resource for food storage, distributions, and other training and events that support food justice and equity for underserved local residents.
Learn more about Pioneer Valley Workers Center.
Regional Environmental Council – Worcester, MA
- The Regional Environmental Council will coordinate the purchase and distribution of produce grown in Worcester County through partnerships with rural and urban producers and Main South area food pantries including Jeremiah’s Inn, El Buen Samaritano, and Catholic Charities. Produce will be purchased primarily from Dismas Family Farm, a program of Dismas House of Massachusetts, a charitable agency that manages a network of housing and social services that provide an integrated and unique approach to ensure the success of homeless and former prisoners in the Greater Worcester area.
Learn more about Regional Environmental Council.
Root NS, Inc. – Salem, MA
- Root NS, Inc. will build on and expand their Community Catering initiative, which was launched during the early days of the pandemic in response to regional food insecurity issues across the North Shore of Massachusetts and has grown through a network of partnerships with local farmers and nonprofit distribution sites. The project will provide employment opportunities to socially disadvantaged young people, who will prepare and deliver the meals made from local produce and ingredients.
Learn more about Root NS, Inc.
World Farmers – Lancaster, MA
- World Farmers’ project will expand sales for over 60 commercial immigrant and refugee farmers in World Farmers’ programs and other farmers of color in their network, while addressing food security and serving communities in environmental justice communities across five counties in Massachusetts. Conducted in partnership with eight community partners, the project goals are to: partner with and support refugee and immigrant farmers and farmers of color in Massachusetts to increase their crops sales through their participation in the LFPA program; and increase access to local, fresh, and culturally important vegetables and proteins for low-income or food impoverished communities.
Learn more about World Farmers.