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Nutrition During COVID-19

Ensuring Access to Fresh Produce for Children and Young Families during COVID-19

United Fresh is at the forefront of shaping nutrition policy through various federal nutrition programs, advocating for increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables for children and young families. School meals, including breakfast and lunch, afterschool snacks and supper, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program serve tens of millions of students daily. These programs, along with the Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), are legislated through Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) every five years. To view our specific policy positions, please visit our Nutrition Policy website

Prior to COVID-19, United Fresh was sharply focused on seeking passage of a CNR bill in 2020. However, as the country’s priorities shifted overnight due to COVID-19, the focus became ensuring schools, and the students they serve, continued to have access to meals, including a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. When COVID-19 swept through the nation and resulted in school closures, many children lost access to these important snacks and meals. Instead of advocating for CNR reauthorization, United Fresh has shifted its focus to ensuring schools have the resources and flexibility needed to continue to access fresh fruits and vegetables through emergency and alternative feeding.  See the tabs below for United Fresh’s activities on each issue area.

Nutrition During COVID
Nutrition Policy Issue Brief

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

  • Allow FFVP snack to be served via curbside and delivery meals (USDA approved beginning April 9th)
  • Makes FFVP an essential program during COVID-19 emergency declaration (H.R. 6564; included in HEROES Act; USDA began approving state requests May 22nd)

USDA DoD Fresh

  • Allow states to transfer additional USDA Foods entitlement money into schools’ DoD Fresh accounts
    (USDA announced March 27th)
  • Provide temporary increase in DoD Fresh funding to schools still operating during COVID-19

School Kitchen Equipment

  • Provide $200 million in emergency USDA School Kitchen Equipment Grants to allow schools to procure necessary equipment for alternative serving methods (mobile serving carts, mobile coolers, etc.)

School Nutrition Program Solvency

  • Provide $2.6 billion in emergency funding to address schools’ dramatically increased costs nationwide to ensure that meals can be served and that food quality, including a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, is not sacrificed in new school year. (April 27th letter; Included in HEROES Act)

WIC

  • Temporarily increase the monthly cash value voucher/benefit for fruits and vegetables to $35 per month for both children and women. The benefit currently is $9 for children and $11 for women. (H.R. 6726; included in HEROES Act)

To learn more about nutrition policy please contact Mollie Van Lieu, Senior Director, Nutrition Policy.