The USDA has announced it will provide close to $2 billion in additional funding to food banks and school meal programs for purchasing American-grown foods to help them endure supply chain challenges and elevated food costs. Nearly $500 million of the funds, provided through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), will be allocated to schools across the country to purchase food for their lunch and breakfast programs, bringing total CCC investment in school food since December 2021 to close to $2.5 billion.
In addition, nearly $1 billion will be used to purchase food for emergency food providers like food banks and another nearly $500 million to expand the Local Food Purchase Assistance, or LFPA, cooperative agreement program, through which 49 states, 33 tribes, and four territories are already working to purchase local foods for their emergency food systems.
Of the funding for school meal programs, USDA said that the investment of $471.5 million will be used for the third round of Supply Chain Assistance funds provided to states to support the purchase of American-grown foods for their meal programs. Supply Chain Assistance funding can be used by school districts to purchase unprocessed and minimally processed domestic food such as fresh fruit, milk, cheese, frozen vegetables and ground meat. Each state will allocate the funds to schools based on student enrollment, with a minimum amount per district to ensure that small schools are not left behind.
This assistance builds on the two rounds of Supply Chain Assistance funds that totaled nearly $2 billion that USDA previously allocated in December 2021 and June 2022.
“Funding these initiatives is paramount in the fight against hunger, and further demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA’s commitment to strengthen food and nutrition security,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We must ensure Americans have access to safe, healthy, affordable food for longevity and optimal health.”