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USDA invests $1B in nation’s emergency food system

Photo by USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning its first investment as part of the new ‘Build Back Better’ initiative.

USDA announced Friday an investment of up to $1 billion – including $500 million in American Rescue Plan funding – in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to support and expand the emergency food network so food banks and local organizations can reliably serve their communities.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Stacy Dean says USDA will enter into cooperative agreements with state, Tribal and local entities to more efficiently purchase food from local producers and invest in infrastructure that enables partner organizations to more effectively reach underserved communities.

“We are offering a new investment of $1 billion in the emergency food network,” said Dean. “The local churches, pantries and small organizations around the country who do such a great job in connecting food for our neighbors in need. It brings together both producers and consumers. We know we have lots of struggling Americans. We also know that farmers, ranchers and producers need our help as well.”

Dean adds USDA believes the food system of the future should be fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient; it must support health and ensure producers receive a fair share of the food dollar while advancing equity and contributing to national climate goals.

In the coming months, USDA will make a series of additional investments under the Build Back Better initiative focused on building a better food system.

Friday’s announcement of up to $1 billion will help resolve lingering challenges directly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and start addressing long-term challenges to the nation’s food system exposed by the pandemic, said USDA in a press release.

To learn more, visit usda.gov.