On May 8th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved $1.2 billion in contracts to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
A full list of approved suppliers is posted on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program website. Approved suppliers may increase the number of non-profit organizations or Government entities (e.g., school food authority, Indian tribe) they will provide boxes to within their service area but must ensure the non-profit has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
Richard Owen and PMA has released the following statement regarding USDA's recent announcement regarding the Food Box Program.
"The Families to Farmers program, which has committed to providing $461 million in fresh fruit and vegetable purchases, was created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The solicitation invited proposals from offerers (distributors, etc.) to supply commodity boxes to non-profit organizations, identified by the offerer, on a mutually agreeable, recurring schedule. USDA awarded contracts for the purchase of the agricultural products, the assembly of commodity boxes and delivery to identified non-profit organizations that can receive, store and distribute food items."
"While PMA applauds the quick implementation of this new program, we would like to see additional funding be made available by USDA to expand the number of distributors and citizens the initiative is able to reach. Food insecurity did not begin with the global pandemic and will not end with it, either."
"The Farmer to Families Food Box Program is a great step towards creating a blueprint for the infrastructure needed for our industry to play a crucial part in getting our fresh, healthy products to those who need it most. PMA will continue to support programs like the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and the Fresh Food Fund which provides a long-term, sustainable model for our industry to provide surplus product to foodbanks and community centers in at-risk communities."