The Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Friut and Vegetables
As required by Section 4202 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the Farm Bill) the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) are conducting a pilot project in up to eight States to provide selected States flexibility for using USDA Foods entitlement dollars for the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables (includes products that are fresh cut such as sliced apples, baby carrots, and shredded lettuce) by permitting each State to (1) use multiple suppliers and products established and qualified by the Secretary and (2) allow geographic preference, if desired, in the procurement of the products under this pilot.
The Farm Bill requires that the selection of pilot States be based on demonstrated commitment and increased effort of the identified State’s farm-to-school program, the quantity and variety of growers of local fruits and vegetables in the State, and the degree to which the State contains a sufficient quantity of local educational agencies of various population sizes and geographic locations. At least one pilot project must take place in each of the following regions: 1) the Pacific Northwest Region; 2) the Northeast Region; 3) the Western Region; 4) the Midwest Region; and 4) the Southern Region.
The goal of the Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetables is to develop additional opportunities for schools to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with entitlement funding, while using pre-existing commercial distribution channels and school relationships with growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors. The pilot supports the use of locally-grown foods in school meal programs using entitlement funds.
Please note that the DOD Fresh program, under which USDA partners with Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DOD-DLA) to purchase and deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to schools and other nutrition programs, remains available to eligible recipients.
The pilot project will begin in School Year 2014-2015.
USDA FNS Web page of information
District application to participate in pilot
Powerpoint (coming soon)