The USDA has recently established the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program. The federal funds, known as the Local Foods for Schools (LFS) program, are granted to districts that have opted in. Through the LFS program, USDA is awarding up to $200 million to states for purchases of domestic local foods for distribution to schools. This program aims to strengthen the local food system by promoting local foods in schools. The program also emphasizes purchasing from historically underserved producers and processors. Funds are issued to districts based on enrollment.
State and Federal Funding Chart - FY 2024
Filing Your Local Foods for Schools (LFS) claim in CNP web:
Important reminders when submitting your claim:
- Upload the summary page as an Excel file (this is required). Upload the receipts as one pdf.
- Include each purchase on a separate line (i.e. don't combine the price of all things purchased on the same date)
- Organize Excel rows and receipts by date
- Begin your file names with your district name
LFS Summary Page (link)
*In order to receive funding, the LFS summary page and accompanying receipts must be submitted monthly in CNPWeb, as part of the regular monthly claim process.
Farm/Producer List - This list includes Maine farms that schools are currently purchasing from as well as socially disadvantaged farms. This is not an exhaustive list and additional farms and distributors can be purchased from.
DOE Farm to School map: https://www.maine.gov/doe/harvestofthemonth/map
Link to USDA local foods for schools cooperative agreement: https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/lfs
Federal Local Foods for Schools (LFS) guidelines:
- The funds can only be used in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program
- No double dipping with state local foods fund and supply chain assistance funds
- While purchasing from a small or socially disadvantaged farm is not a requirement, it is a target and steps should be taken to purchase from these farms.
- The LFS summary page and accompanying receipts must be submitted monthly in CNP web as part of the regular monthly claim process (see instructions above)
- LFS funds cannot be used to purchase livestock (whole animals). The state local foods fund can be used for these purchases.
- The federal LFS defines local as foods raised, produced, aggregated, stored, processed and distributed within the State of Maine.
- All foods must meet the USDA definition of “minimally processed”, including: fruits and vegetables (including 100% juices); grain products such as pastas and rice; meats (whole, pieces, or food items such as ground meats); meat alternates such as beans or legumes, and fluid milk and other dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt. Foods in a wide variety of minimal processing states (e.g., whole, cut, pureed, etc.) and/or forms (e.g., fresh, frozen, canned, dried, etc.) are also allowable.