Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series.

Iowa food banks, food hubs, schools, growers and community partner organizations are taking advantage of new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food purchasing grants to provide locally grown food critical to battling food insecurities and meeting the nutritional needs of Iowans, including school children.

The Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) and the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) finance purchasing programs that strengthen local and regional food systems, improve the supply chain and support underserved Iowa farmer/producers.

“The (LFPA) and (LFS) are important parts of USDA’s wholistic approach to invest in the future of rural communities as we transform the food system to be one that is more resilient, more equitable and fairer for both producers and consumers,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Iowa Valley Resource Conservation...