Following U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s authorization of up to an additional $500 million for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it has approved contracts for up to the authorized amount to support American producers and communities in need through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. To date, more than 110 million boxes have been distributed.
These contract awards are part of the fourth round of the program announced on Oct. 23, 2020, for deliveries through Dec. 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, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.
USDA issued solicitations for the fourth round to existing Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) holders and awarded contracts for deliveries of food boxes from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.
In the fourth round, as in the third round, states have been allocated boxes based on the internal need of the state. The program will continue the purchase of combination boxes to include fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products. The program also will continue to require that proposals 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.
Entities who met the government’s requirements and specifications were issued agreements and submitted pricing through a competitive acquisition process. Contracts were awarded based on the pricing submitted for the delivery locations proposed, box content, last mile delivery plans, means testing compliance, past performance, and support of small and local/regional food systems.
The ongoing third round of the Farmers to Families Food Box program was announced July 24, 2020, and the President announced on Aug. 24, 2020, that up to an additional $1 billion was being made available for deliveries through Oct. 31, 2020. USDA announced contracts for the third round on Sept. 17, 2020, and has purchased more than $3.634 billion worth of food, to date.
In the second round of purchasing and distribution, which began July 1 and concluded Sep. 18, 2020, USDA purchased more than $1.781 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 (AMS) website, with breakdowns by performance period on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program page.
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