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Local Agriculture Market Program Grant Recipient Helps Small Farms and Their Community Prosper

By Jenny Lester Moffitt

Several weeks ago, USDA announced $26 million available through this year’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). The program funds projects that increase the availability of locally grown food for consumers and develop new markets for local and regional food agricultural businesses, farmers markets, and food hubs, keeping food dollars in the local community. A 2021 LAMP recipient, Foodshed Inc., has used its grant funding to make great strides in supporting local farmers while helping meet the nutrition needs of the community.

Foodshed Inc. is a farmer-owned, cooperatively run food hub in San Diego, Calif. Foodshed partners with 60 small and BIPOC-owned farms to increase access to healthy food and reduce food insecurity in the city’s low-income communities. Initially supported through pandemic response money for emergency food distribution, the co-op received and was able to use LAMP’s Local Food Promotion Program grant funds to transition to a sustainable operation that increases sales for its farmers. The farmers partnering with Foodshed retain an impressive 80 cents of the “food dollar.”

Foodshed is not only increasing profitability and market access for its small farm partners, it is helping address food insecurity within its community. Each year, the food hub delivers around 440 bags of fresh, locally grown food to residents and families experiencing food insecurity. Additionally, Foodshed offers cooking classes and does outreach to help educate its diverse community on the value and uses of the region’s fresh produce. The organization is also a recipient of a USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant and has launched the Climate Smart Incentive Program, a 5-year program that helps farmers move produce into the local marketplace that is grown using regenerative and verified climate-smart production practices.

Using LAMP grant funds, Foodshed has shown how its innovative model is transforming the food system in San Diego into one that is equitable and empowers the entire community.

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