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Connecticut News

USDA to work with Connecticut to supply food to fill pantries in struggling communities

Mike Lyle
WSHU Public Radio
U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) said Connecticut will be able to use federal coronavirus relief funding through the USDA to purchase produce at local farms to stock food banks across the state.

Connecticut will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase food from local farmers that will go to food banks, schools and underserved communities across the state.

Jason Jakubowski, president of the Wallingford-based Connecticut Foodshare, said the goal is for local food businesses to help those that are food insecure.

“The hardest part about there being more than 400,000 people who are food insecure, is that more than 100,000 of them are children,” Jakubowski said. “And we find that completely unacceptable.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said the $400 million program is being funded through the American Rescue Plan. Connecticut is the second state to strike a deal with USDA.

“It gets food from the farmers who want to sell it to the food insecure folks who really need it at reduced prices, and it multiplies the force of the market in very real important ways,” Blumenthal said.

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) said the program will place a special focus on communities of color.

“Forty percent of people in communities of color have experienced some type of food insecurity which is 16% more than other communities,” Hayes said. “We have to use that data and say, ‘Okay, now what can we do about it?’”

Officials also said the program will help maintain Connecticut’s food and agricultural supply chain.