Supporting Tennessee Agriculture
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) mission is to serve, support, and promote agriculture and forestry. They have made a positive impact on the local food system through many of their initiatives, including the Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program, Pick Tennessee Products, and support of projects through the Specialty Crop Block Grant.
In October 2022 TDA joined the Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA), which was established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service authorized under the American Rescue Plan. The initiative aims to maintain and improve agricultural supply chain resiliency to support local, regional, and socially disadvantaged farmers and producers through the purchase of locally grown fresh foods, food products, and beverages.
TDA is in the process of working with five food banks to procure high-quality foods and beverages that are produced within the state or a 400-mile radius. In addition to increasing local food consumption via food banks, funds will help build and expand economic opportunity for local and socially disadvantaged producers.
Another way that TDA is supporting the local food system is through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG) . This grant funds projects that help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and is open to universities, institutions, cooperatives, producers, industry and community-based organizations.
Here are some examples of some projects that TDA has funded through SCBG:
• Cul2vate in Nashville runs a specialty crop training and demonstration farm.
• Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network is working with school districts to support Farm to School programing.
• Jonesborough Locally Grown is developing a media campaign following selected specialty crops from the farm to the table.
• University of Memphis is collaborating with a local urban farmer to conduct educational workshops promoting specialty crops.
• Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council is conducting field schools for beginning farmers on a variety of specialty crops.
One program that many Tennesseans are most familiar with is Pick Tennessee Products. Through this program, TDA helps connect people with more than 2,600 Tennessee farms and food businesses. For the producers, Pick Tennessee provides free exposure and marketing opportunities. To become a member, Tennessee producers can simply go to picktnproducts.org. If you are a consumer looking for local products, you can visit picktnproducts.org or the Pick Tennessee app to find farms and food businesses near you. Make sure to also follow @PickTNProducts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more and stay up to date on activities and products.
Beyond these programs, TDA collaborates with other departments and organizations throughout the state to bring attention to food waste, food insecurity, and ways to strengthen and support Tennessee agriculture and communities.
Last Updated: Dec 19, 2022 - 3:11:18