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Local Food Partnerships Expanding Throughout Michigan

LANSING – Partnerships throughout Michigan are being developed to help bridge the gap between local, socially disadvantaged farmers and underserved communities.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced that it has signed a $10.1 million cooperative agreement under the new Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Under LFPA, eight grant sub-agency partners will receive funding to purchase healthy foods from local, socially disadvantaged Michigan farmers to be distributed through a variety of methods and partnerships to reach underserved communities. LFPA is an innovative program that allows state and tribal governments to procure and distribute local and regional foods and beverages that are unique to their geographic area. 

MDE is pleased to partner with the following agencies: The Food Bank Council of Michigan, Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Eastern Market, Flint Fresh Food Hub, Kalamazoo Valley Community College ValleyHUB, Mid-Michigan Community Action, Thumb Food Policy Council, and West Michigan Food Processing Association.

“MDE is excited to partner with these eight organizations around the state to ensure that our families and children most in need have improved access to fresh and healthy foods,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “At the same time, we are pleased that this effort permits us to support underserved farmers and food producers.”

For the purpose of this program, the USDA’s definition of “socially disadvantaged” is a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group whose members have been subject to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and, where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program.

To learn more about the LFPA program, visit