Local Food Purchasing Incentives

Boosting the local food economy

Local Food Purchasing Incentives (LFPIs) are programs that provide additional funding to child nutrition program (CNP) operators to directly offset or incentivize local food purchases. Typically funded and operated at the state level, these programs intend to increase the purchasing of local foods in school and early care and education (ECE) settings. The first state-level LFPI was established in 2001, and as of August 2023, at least 16 states and Washington, D.C. have established LFPIs.

Local Food Purchasing Incentives are an important tool for advancing farm to school. Depending on how they are designed, LFPIs can:

  • Provide more equitable financial support for child nutrition programs that may face challenges in affording local ingredients; 
  • Boost the local agricultural economy by creating a positive cycle that increases institutional demand for local food, which increases the vibrancy and viability of local food market channels;
  • Increase the volume and variety of fresh, nourishing, local ingredients available to children, which may in turn increase participation in meals.

National Farm to School Network supports our Partners in researching, advocating for, and implementing LFPIs that are aligned with our values. We have teamed up with the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to create spaces for peer learning and develop resources about LFPIs. Our goals are to support LFPI stakeholders in all phases of development, increase awareness of LFPIs for general audiences, and deepen connections between state LFPI administrators and partners.

Which States Have Incentive Programs?

The following list represents states with LFPIs as of May 2024. For 3-4 page descriptions of each of the LFPI programs, see this October 2022 State Program Compendium. Many additional states have introduced policies to establish these programs. These states can be found in NFSN’s State Policy Handbook, which also features short case studies on LFPIs. 

AlabamaFarm to School Incentive Program
AlaskaNutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools
CaliforniaFarm to School Incubator Grant
ConnecticutLocal Food for Schools Incentive Program
ColoradoLocal Food Program
District of ColumbiaLocal 5 Program (Healthy Schools Act and Healthy Tots Act)
KentuckyKentucky Proud's Buy Local Program
Maine: Local Foods Fund
Michigan10 Cents A Meal for Michigan's Kids and Farms
MinnesotaFarm to School and Early Care First Bite and Full Tray Grants
New MexicoNew Mexico Grown Grant
New York30% New York State Initiative
Oregon: Farm to Child Nutrition Program Grant
PennsylvaniaFarm to School Grant
Utah: Enhanced Local Reimbursement Program
VermontLocal Foods Incentive Grant
WashingtonFarm to School Purchasing Grant
WyomingSchool Protein Enhancement Program

More Incentive Projects

Colorado State University, Ohio State University, and U. S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture and Marketing Service: Research To Understand The Farm Profitability And School Food Choice Impacts Of Farm To School So As To Guide Policymakers In Their Decision-Making

With support from a 2022 USDA FNS Farm to School grant, NOFA Vermont, in partnership with Farm to Institution New England and Northbound Ventures, organized a Community of Practice among LFPI practitioners in eight Northeast States. Contact Hannah Leighton for more information: hannah@farmtoinstitution.org.


Contact Cassandra Bull, Policy Specialist, cassandra@farmtoschool.org for more information on local food purchasing incentives.