USDA has approved up to $1 billion in contracts to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Earlier this week, USDA reached a milestone of having distributed more than 90 million food boxes.
“With over 90 million Farmers to Families food boxes delivered, we continue to leverage and support our great American farmers and food distributors to feed those most vulnerable. Thanks to the President’s commitment of $1 billion in additional funding, I’m proud to see that we are well on our way to the third round of USDA Farmers to Families food box program purchases which focus on boxes containing fresh and nutritious fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump.
USDA solicited new proposals for the third round. Proposals were required to illustrate how coverage would be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones, detail subcontracting agreements, and address the “last mile” delivery of product into the hands of the food insecure population.
In this third round of purchases, USDA announced plans to purchase combination boxes to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products. These boxes will be distributed to every county in America.
These contract awards are a result of the third round of Farmers to Families Food Box program announced on July 24, 2020, and President Trump’s announcement on Aug. 24 that up to an additional $1 billion was being made available for deliveries through Oct. 31, 2020. A full list of approved suppliers will be posted on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program webpage after 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.
In the ongoing second round of purchasing and distribution, which began July 1 and will conclude Sep. 18, 2020, USDA has purchased more than $1.113 billion of food through extended contracts of select vendors from the first round of the program as well as new contracts focused on Opportunity Zones in order to direct food to reach underserved areas, places where either no boxes have yet been delivered, or where boxes are being delivered but where there is additional need.
The first round of purchases occurred from May 15 through June 30, 2020 and saw more than 35.5 million boxes delivered in the first 45 days.
Updates to the number of food boxes verified as delivered will continue to be displayed on the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service website, with breakdowns by performance period on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program page.