New partnership to bring locally grown products to Kansas food banks

Governor Laura Kelly announces a new partnership at Just Food on Aug. 1, 2022.
Governor Laura Kelly announces a new partnership at Just Food on Aug. 1, 2022.(Office of the Kansas Governor)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:15 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new partnership will bring locally grown products to Kansas food banks.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Monday, Aug. 1, she was joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jenny Moffitt and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam at Just Food, Lawrence’s food bank, to announce a new program to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced and processed food to food insecure residents.

Gov. Kelly said the Kansas Department of Agriculture has been awarded a $2.5 million cooperative agreement from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service as part of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program. She said the money will be used to buy and distribute Kansas-grown and processed foods to underserved communities and families across the state through food banks.

“This common-sense partnership will make progress on two challenges facing our state: Food insecurity, and the fact that though more than 50 million pounds of food was distributed across Kansas last year, very little was locally grown,” said Governor Kelly. “Our farmers and ranchers feed the nation – and this agreement will help them also feed their neighbors.”

Kelly noted that the KDA will work with stakeholders to develop a network of producers, establish a tiered purchasing standard giving preference to socially disadvantaged farmers to expand businesses and ensure food bought by the grant is widely distributed across rural and urban communities impacted by food insecurity.

“USDA is excited to partner with Kansas to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”

Kelly indicated that the local food bought through the agreement will be given out through the state’s existing distribution network of Feeding America food banks - Kansas Food Bank, Harvesters - The Community Food Network, and Second Harvest Community Food Bank.

The Governor said Just Food, part of Harvesters’ network, is the food bank of Douglas Co. which supplies more than 29 partner agencies with fresh produce, dairy products, meat, bread and pantry staples.

“Together our three Feeding America food banks serve the food insecure in every one of Kansas’ 105 counties,” said Stephen Davis, President & CEO of Harvesters. “In a time of increased need and decreasing food donations, we are grateful for these healthy, locally grown foods that we can share with our neighbors in need throughout the state.”

For more information about the agreement, click HERE.

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