A $2.6 million federal award could help local food banks in St. Helens, Scappoose, and other parts of the state.
The federal funding for initiatives to combat hunger through local food purchases has been announced by the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Oregon Food Bank (OFB).
ODHS and OFB stated that the grant, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program, will significantly expand the food bank’s Community Grower Support Fund. This will help to address rising food insecurity in urban, rural, and remote communities that have experienced disproportionate hunger and poverty for generations while also investing in historically underserved producers.
Interim director of the ODHS Self-Sufficiency Program Jana McLellan said, “As communities in Oregon continue to be impacted by COVID-19 and the growing cost of food, we know that many are suffering hardship and are trying to afford enough healthy food for themselves and their children.” We are honoured to help families and individuals get access to fresh, wholesome food produced locally.
Local Food Purchase Assistance, which has been approved by the American Rescue Plan, gives state and tribal governments the chance to improve their local and regional food systems.
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The programme assists farmers and producers in forging new or strengthening existing relationships with local food distribution networks through grants like the $2.6 million granted to the Oregon Department of Human Services in collaboration with the Oregon Food Bank and Oregon Department of Agriculture.
According to Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan, “this award is a triple victory for Oregon communities: it helps us to enhance local food systems, empower farmers of colour, and give fresh, locally grown food to individuals experiencing hunger.” Government initiatives like this are essential to our joint fight to address hunger and its causes, as up to 1.5 million people may need food assistance this year.
Through the expansion of the Community Grower Support Fund, which buys food directly from socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers (a classification used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to include groups that have experienced systemic racial or ethnic prejudice), the grant money will help local economies.
All around the state, these underserved urban, rural, and distant areas receive this locally produced food. Additionally, funds will enhance the infrastructure for storage and transportation, assisting in the long-term development of more durable local food systems.
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