FSLN Farm to Food Assistance Learning Lab

This 12-month lab will support 10 teams with financial and technical assistance to strengthen their farm to food assistance programs.

Providing a stable market for farmers while simultaneously alleviating hunger is a powerful approach to building more equitable and resilient food systems. Nationwide, organizations are creating and implementing Farm to Food Assistance (F2FA) Programs – paying farmers a fair price for their product and channeling that product into food banks, food pantries, and other anti-hunger efforts – and seeing incredible results.

The Farm to Food Assistance Learning Lab will support and learn from people working on initiatives that buy food from local farmers and make it accessible to food insecure communities, with an emphasis on racial equity and community driven solutions. Through this 12-month Lab, we will provide funding, mentorship, and peer support to folks working on these efforts, including those that are funded by USDA’s Local Food Purchasing Assistance Cooperative Agreement program (LFPA). We’ll also collaborate with the teams to gather and measure the impact and challenges of this strategy so we can all better tell the story of this work.

You can watch the recording of the Learning Lab Informational Call here:

What is a Farm to Food Assistance Program?

Farm to Food Assistance Programs are community-based solutions that pay farmers a fair market value for their product and offer healthy food free to underserved communities. This includes those funded by the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance program. 

For info about F2FA programs please visit this page 

Teams will receive

  • Peer connection via a community of organizations and people doing similar work in a confidential, supportive space  
  • Financial assistance (up to $20k) to be used to strengthen and advance existing farm to food assistance efforts 
  • Technical assistance in the form of dedicated advisors and monthly group calls to increase organizations’ knowledge and capacity for design, collaboration, and implementation of F2FA projects 
  • In Person Retreat to help participants expand their network, deepen their connections and learn from their peers (Lead applicant only) 

This learning lab will collectively lead to:

  • Strengthened relationships of teams implementing F2FA programs
  • Increased sustainability of F2FA projects across the country
  • Increased understanding of the challenges, technical assistance needs, and best practices for creating and implementing equity-driven farm to food assistance projects 

Learning Lab Advisors

Read the full advisor bios here!

Alison Cohen

National Coordinator, Right to Food Community of Practice

Myra Marcellin

Financial Advisor for Small Businesses

Pakou Hang

Former Executive Director, Hmong American Farmers Association

Erin Pirro

Certified Agricultural Consultant and Ag Business Catalyst, Agribusiness ESP, LLC

Program Overview

Program and Team Structure

Lead Applicant – Completes the application and is expected to fully participate in in-person and virtual activities, and complete surveys for research on F2FA programs. Lead applicants will coordinate with their participating team members to invite them to virtual program activities when relevant. 

Participating Team Members – The lead applicant can invite a team of up to 2 additional partners. Partners will receive coaching from advisors and virtual and peer learning opportunities.  Partners are not required to participate in all aspects of the program however are encouraged to participate in virtual learnings. Partners won’t be attending the in-person retreat.

Expectations of lead applicant

  • Commit to full participation in Learning Lab activities
  • Attend in-person retreat in November 2023
  • Complete baseline and final surveys
  • Complete case study interviews
  • Present or participate in a panel during a Farm to Food Assistance Community of Practice call
  • Receive and manage a $20k grant from the Wallace Center


  • This learning lab is open to farm to food assistance program implementers, including those funded by USDA’s Local Food Purchase Assistance program and those funded through other sources.
  • This program is open to many types of organizations including nonprofits, for-profits, faith-based organizations, mutual aid organizations, food hubs, food banks, community based organizations, state and tribal governments, and cooperatives. 

Learning Lab Selection Criteria:

  • Paying farmers fair market value for food purchases vs requesting donations  
  • Demonstrating a commitment to racial equity and centering community driven solutions 
  • Working to create long term solutions that exist beyond short term funding streams 
  • Willing and able to share data about their operations including number of farmers, dollars of product,  and number of people served per month. 
  • Proposing to use grant funds to help  set your program and partners up for long term success 


  • The F2FA Learning Lab will run from August 2023 – July 2024. 
  • May 2023: Applications open  
  • June 6th: Informational Call recording
  • July 10th 2023: Applications close and organizations selected 
  • August 2023: Kick-off call, baseline surveys of participants 
  • November 1-3 2023: In-person convening (Lead Applicant Only) 
  • August 2023– May 2024: ongoing learning lab activities 
  • June-July 2024: Project close, final surveys of participants 

How to Apply

Applications are now closed.

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