A collaboration between the White House Rural Council and several federal agencies will provide support for 27 communities in 22 states working to improve their communities through local food projects.
Local Foods, Local Places is a joint initiative between the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority.
The program began in 2014. This year's participants were selected from more than 300 applicants. The winning projects include new community gardening programs, urban farms, walkability improvements, cooperative grocery stores, farmers' markets, community kitchens, and local food business development.
“Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “The program is good for the environment, public health and the economy. By helping bring healthy local food to market and offering new walking and biking options, Local Foods, Local Places can help improve air quality, support local economies, and protect undeveloped green space.”
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the program is also a way of addressing inequality by providing channels for federal investment to communities that many otherwise not stand out.
“The community where a child grows up impacts her odds of graduating high school, health outcomes and lifetime economic opportunities,” Vilsack said. “This Administration has embarked on a different, locally-driven approach to empower homegrown solutions. Projects like these help us learn how to better coordinate and target federal assistance as we work with communities to ensure zip codes never determine a child’s destiny and every part of America prospers.”