The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released its solicitation for proposals for the Farmers to Families food box program to purchase and distribute $100 million a month of fresh fruit and vegetables for approximately six months. USDA will award contracts for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables, the assembly of commodity boxes, and delivery to identified food banks, food pantries, churches, schools, community groups, and other non-profit and governmental organizations that can receive and distribute food items.
Request for Proposal
The solicitation can be found here. Proposals were due May 1, 2020. We will update this page should an additional round of solicitations be announced.
1. What is the Farmers to Families Box Program?
USDA established the Farmers to Families program as a means to connect food that would have otherwise been sold to restaurants, schools, and other foodservice establishments (that are now closed due to COVID-19) to the nonprofits serving the growing number of food insecure using funding authority from the Families First Act.
2. What is USDA planning to buy through this program?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) established the program to purchase $100 million a month, for six months, of each of the following box types to distribute to those in need: fresh fruits and vegetables; pre-cooked meat (chicken and pork); dairy products; and fluid milk.
3. Where can I submit a proposal? When are they due?
The RFP can be found on USDA’s Farmers to Families website. USDA has presented an aggressive timeline in order to get food moving as quickly as possible:
- April 24 : USDA opened solicitations through a Request for Proposals (RFP). P
- May 1: RFPs due to the government
- May 8: USDA announces awarded vendors
- May 15: First round of food is distributed
4. How will USDA select vendors to do this work?
USDA will select one or more vendors from each of the regions outlined in the RFP. USDA has the sole discretion to select vendors. Applications will be scored as outlined in the RFP.
5. What if my company is not awarded?
Unfortunately, not all proposals will be selected. United Fresh will continue to work to provide relief for those impacted by COVID-19 through a range of efforts. More information on our efforts here.
6. I have a question I don’t see here.
USDA is continually updating their FAQ pages as questions arise.
Working with Feeding America
USDA’s RFP encourages collaboration with nonprofits including food banks, food pantries, schools, churches, and other 501c3 organizations.
Feeding America is one of the network of food banks interested proposals may include.
Please find a guidance document on working with the Feeding America network of food banks.
If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to United Fresh through Mollie Van Lieu, Senior Director, Nutrition Policy at United Fresh at firstname.lastname@example.org