usda underserved

USDA Grant Signed to Connect Florida Schools with Underserved Farmers/Producers

Dan Education, Florida, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Funding

usda underserved

(FDACS/Tallahassee, FL/Nov. 1, 2022) — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the signing of a $11.4 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS). The program provides grant funds to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness (FNW) to connect underserved farms with Florida schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP). 

“Research is clear — students perform better when they have access to daily, nutritionally balanced meals, and this grant will further our ability to provide Florida’s world renowned fresh, local commodities in our schools,” said Commissioner Fried. “Additionally, it is an opportunity to connect small, historically underserved producers with new market opportunities, creating a more sustainable and resilient food supply chain. I want to thank USDA for the vital role their partnership plays in our ability to feed our children, support our producers, and create a stronger food network for all Floridians.”



FDACS will administer the $11.4 million grant through a competitive sub program allowing food banks, nonprofits, and other community partners to apply for a portion of the allocated funds. Through the purchase of local foods and commodities, including those that are unique to our geographical area, purchases will support small businesses and disadvantaged producers (e.g., farmers/growers, ranchers, and processors) and contribute to the nutritious meals provided through the NSLP or SBP. Research shows enhanced academic performance from students who consume nutritionally balanced meals daily and by connecting producers with new market opportunities, the program will increase the resiliency of Florida’s food supply chain and contribute to the growth and success of Florida’s students. The USDA LFS program awards funding through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers by building fair, competitive, and resilient local food markets through school food distribution.

About the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness:

The FDACS Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness conducts, supervises, and administers child nutrition and commodity food distribution programs that are carried out using state or federal funds. FDACS’ mission is to help Floridians have access to healthy, nutritious food, increase awareness and consumption of Florida’s agricultural commodities, reduce food insecurity among Florida’s most vulnerable populations, and encourage healthy lifestyle among Florida residents.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services