Nearly $3 million in combined private and federal funding will support coordination by a host organization in each city. A full-time Food LINC coordinator will be embedded in each host organization for up to three years. The knowledge gained through their experiences will help the partnership determine next steps to link producers and entrepreneurs with families and institutional consumers to develop more robust local and regional food systems.
USDA, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), have committed $850,000 in public funds to the project, leveraging an additional $2 million so far from private philanthropic partners.
Host organizations include Common Market Georgia; Louisville's Farm to Table, Kentucky; the Conservation Fund in North Carolina; Rocky Mountain Farmers Union in Colorado; La Montañita in New Mexico; Fair Food Philadelphia; Metro Washington Council of Governments in Washington, D.C.; Appalachian Sustainable Development in Virginia; Soul City Hospitality in Mississippi; and Communities Unlimited in Tennessee.
Philanthropic partners so far include the Agua Fund, CoBank, The Duke Endowment, Gates Family Foundation, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, Oak Foundation, The One Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, RSF Social Finance, 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Thornburg Foundation, Town Creek Foundation and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Additional support provided by the Surdna Foundation will also enable the Wallace Center to spread the benefits of this initiative by documenting the work in each region and sharing best practices with other organizations working to grow similar opportunities in their communities nationwide.
Food LINC is part of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative (KYF2) supporting the Obama Administration's work to strengthen economic bonds between rural and urban areas, creating sustainable wealth for rural communities and putting more money into the pockets of rural producers. Launched in 2009, KYF2 breaks down bureaucratic silos and takes stock of USDA programs that support the growing demand for local and regional food systems. Learn more about the $1 billion USDA has invested in 40,000 projects to develop local market opportunities at https://medium.com/usda-results as USDA celebrates Know your Farmer Month in April.