Envisioning Farmer-Focused Local Food Purchasing Incentive Programs
October 16, 2023 - Author: Cassandra Bull, National Farm to School Network, and Colleen Matts
State-level local food purchasing incentives (LFPIs) typically provide funding to schools to purchase local foods—but what if we flipped the narrative? What would LFPIs look like if they directly subsidized local farmers and food hubs to sell to schools and other institutions? Further, how could we design these programs to support values-aligned school food purchasing by directly incentivizing small, regenerative, BIPOC-led, women-led, veteran, and/or emerging farmers? Who else across the nation is interested in a “Farmer-Focused” LFPI?
This virtual discussion first featured two short presentations about past and current programs that use this approach. Then, we discussed the vision for these types of programs together, looking for the collective expertise of this community to help shape the conversation around this opportunity for policy and practice.