VERMONT FARMERS TO FAMILIES FOOD BOX DISTRIBUTIONS
May will be the final month of Farmers to Families. The Vermont Foodbank is launching a new food box program called Full Plates VT. Learn more here, www.vtfoodbank.org/gethelp.
More great ways to access food
3SquaresVT– Boost your grocery budget to shop at your local grocery store, convenience store, farmers market, or online. Click here to learn more. For application assistance call 1-855-855-6181, or text VFBSNAP to 855-11.
WIC - Healthy food and support for you if you are pregnant or a parent or caregiver for a child under the age of 5. Call 2-1-1 or text VTWIC to 855-11.
CSFP – The Commodity Supplemental Food Program is a federal nutrition program which offers free monthly boxes of staple foods to income-eligible adults over the age of 60. Learn more and apply here.
Find a food shelf – The Vermont Foodbank partners with 215 food shelves, meal sites, senior centers, homeless shelters and out of school programs across the state. Find a site near you.
Health Care Share program at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. We provide a free produe CSA through health center ad hospital networks to patients/households experiencing food insecurity and/or diet related illness. Our members are referred through primary care providers but it is not a formal "prescription" program.
If you are age 60 or older, call the helpline 1-800-642-5119 to reach your local Area Agency on Aging for personal assistance with 3SquaresVT, getting meals delivered to you at home, and more.
Call 2-1-1 or visit the USDA Meal Finder to find their nearest location for meals for children 18 and under.
USDA’s Farmers to Families to Food Box Program to end, but produce boxes will continue
The era of the Farmers to Families Food Box program will soon be over.
Since it was created in the spring of 2020, approved contractors with the program delivered 157.1 million boxes of fresh produce, milk, dairy and cooked meats to Americans across the country.
Round five of the Farmers to Families Food Box program will wind down at the end of April, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA fresh produce boxes will now be delivered as part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program. In testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Vilsack said the Farmers to Families Food Box Program had many problems. “There was a significant difference of administrative costs. In some cases, people were charged a tremendous amount just to fill the boxes. There was inadequate accounting of where the boxes were actually delivered. There was a lot of food waste and loss that we uncovered as a result of these listening sessions.”
“Our theory is that we create opportunities through the TEFAP program through what exists with our food banks and our food pantry system, which is incredibly efficient and incredibly effective at getting resources out to folks,” Vilsack told the subcommittee, promising to take the “best” of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and implement those features in the traditional assistance programs.
In a news release, the USDA said produce boxes will be part of the TEFAP program for the remainder of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Vilsack said President Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget will ask for more funds for the TEFAP program.
“Food banks are one of USDA’s most important partners in responding to the rising food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean said in a statement.
“And we’ve been putting our ear to the ground from day one of this administration to learn how we can be more responsive to their needs. Food banks have asked that we support them with more fresh produce, so we are excited to provide a new fresh produce box to states for their network of foodbanks participating in The Emergency Food Assistance Program.”
The USDA will be offering boxes of pre-packed fresh produce through TEFAP in addition to the single varieties that are already available to order, according to the release.
In a statement, the United Fresh Produce Association said the inclusion of fresh produce boxes in TEFAP was positive, but more is needed. “United Fresh appreciates that USDA is including fresh produce boxes in the TEFAP program, but strongly urges that a new produce box program be developed as part of a fundamental realignment of USDA feeding programs,” United Fresh said in a statement.
“USDA recently concluded its public listening session and comment period in which it was heard loud and clear across the country that this program is an important new way to deliver fresh, healthy foods to people in need.” United Fresh said its 80-member working group on the Produce Box Program submitted about 30 recommendations to USDA on ways to best implement the program for the future.
“We look forward to continuing our dialogue with USDA leaders on implementing a much broader new program. The issues that created this program have not gone away,” said Alex DiNovo, president and COO of Columbus, Ohio-based DNO Produce.” My hope is that there will still be ample opportunity through TEFAP for small businesses in the produce industry to give health to the food insecure of our nation.”
The USDA said the TEFAP program fresh produce package will include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that meet the following requirements:
- A 10–12-pound package that includes a minimum of at least four of the following: 3-5 pounds of vegetables (no more than 3 pounds of root vegetables; i.e., potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, etc.), 3-5 pounds of fruit; at least 2 locally grown fruit or vegetable items, as available, and if not available, add an additional fruit and vegetable item to meet a minimum package weight range of 10-12 pounds; and
- Packages will be expected to have a shelf life of 7-10 days once delivered to the location listed on the contract.
“We want USDA food purchases to both feed the community and build the local market for growers,” USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Mae Wu said in a statement. “AMS has been fortunate to add hundreds of new small businesses to its vendor pool recently and hopes to keep growing that list. These small businesses have enabled AMS to purchase more American grown and produced products than ever before, and to support more small businesses and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. We look forward to working with new and existing vendors to support the TEFAP Fresh Produce Initiative.”
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USDA Farmers to Families Food Box
The USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program ended May 31
Organizations interested in distributing USDA Foods in their community should contact their State Distributing Agency to learn how to become a TEFAP local agency. View the complete list of State agency contacts.
Read the letter to stakeholders regarding the end of the Food Box Program
To date USDA contractors have delivered 173,699,775 boxes of fresh produce, milk, dairy and cooked meats to disadvantaged Americans across the country
35.7 million food boxes invoiced in round one (May 15-June 30)
50.8 million food boxes invoiced in round two (July 1-August 31)
15.2 million food boxes invoiced in round two extensions (September 1 - September 18)
18.8 million food boxes invoiced in BOA Contracts (September 22 - October 31)
12.4 million food boxes invoiced in round four (November 1 - December 31)
40.7 million food boxes invoiced in round five (January 19 - April 30)
Updated May 28, 2021
Payments to distributors under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program are only made upon the submission of an invoice documenting evidence of delivery and adherence to contractual requirements.
If you would like to know where Farmers to Families Food Boxes will be available in your area or work for a non-profit food assistance agency interested in distributing Farmers to Families Food Boxes, you can find information about food box distributors and the areas they serve at https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box/approved-contractors-round-five
As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program announced on April 17, USDA is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need. Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $6 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products from American producers of all sizes. Distributors package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in 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. 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 third round of the 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. By the end of the third round on Oct. 31, USDA purchased more than $3.566 billion worth of food. The fourth round of the program was announced on Oct. 23, 2020, and purchased a total of $463 million worth of food delivered between Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. The fourth round was funded by an additional $500 million made available through supplemental appropriations provided to the Secretary in the CARES Act.
In the current fifth round of purchases, USDA will purchase up to $1.5 billion worth of food for delivery through the end of May. The additional funding for the program was included in the COVID-19 relief package as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed December 21, 2020. USDA will again purchase combination boxes to ensure all involved recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products, and seafood products will also be included in this round.
For details on purchases, visit the solicitations page.
Round Five Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Round Four Farmers to Families Food Box Program (BOA Holders)
Round Three Farmers to Families Food Box Program
Farmers to Families Food Box Program Outreach Materials
Available for use by program participants.
Round One and Round Two Program Information
Request for Proposal and Applicable Attachments, round one (May 15-June 30) and round two (July 1-August 31)
Farmers to Families Food Box Program Announcements
- January 19, 2021 - USDA Announces Contracts for Round 5 of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- January 4, 2021 - USDA Announces Continuation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, Fifth Round of Food Purchases
- October 30, 2020 - USDA Announces Contracts for Round 4 of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- October 23, 2020 - USDA Announces Fourth Round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- September 29, 2020 - Farmers to Families Food Box Program Surpasses 100 Million Boxes Delivered
- September 17, 2020 - USDA Announces Contracts for Round 3 of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- August 28, 2020 - Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 75 Million Boxes Delivered
- August 25, 2020 - Trump Administration Announces Additional $1 billion for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- July 29, 2020 - Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 50 Million Boxes Delivered
- July 24, 2020 - USDA Announces a Third Round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program Purchases
- June 23, 2020 - USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 20 Million Boxes Distributed
- June 17, 2020 - USDA Extends Farmers to Families Food Box Program Contracts for Some Vendors
- June 4, 2020 - USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program Reaches 5 Million Boxes Distributed
- May 8, 2020 - USDA Approves $1.2 billion in Contracts for Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- April 27, 2020 - USDA Provides Additional Details on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- April 27, 2020 - USDA Hosts Webinar for Farmers, Shippers and Suppliers Interested in Participating in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program
- April 19, 2020 - USDA to Purchase Up to $3 Billion in Agricultural Commodities, Issue Solicitations for Interested Participants
Where To Find USDA Farmers To Families Food Boxes
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase an additional $1.5 billion worth of food for nationwide distribution through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
Go to this link to find where in your state food boxes are available. You’ll find a list of distributors, and to the far right, contact information. They can tell you where their boxes will be distributed.
In total, USDA has distributed more than 132 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This new round of Farmers to Families Food Boxes will go a long way in helping American families access nutritious and healthy meals as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.
The Farmers to Families Food Box program is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using authority provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, USDA partnered with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces were significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase and distribute agricultural products to Americans in need.
The additional funding for the program was included in the COVID-19 relief package as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed Dec. 21,
In this fifth round of purchases, USDA will again purchase combination boxes to ensure all involved recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk and meat products, and seafood products will also be included in this round.
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Farmers to Families Food Box Program
About the Program
Community Food Bank of Central Alabama is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local for-profit food distributors to implement the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) or the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The purpose of Farmers to Families is to provide fresh, healthy foods to vulnerable populations through regularly scheduled distributions.
Farmers to Families delivers large amounts of fresh (i.e., perishable) foods–including fresh fruits and vegetables–to partner sites “Just-In-Time” to be quickly distributed to individuals in need. All foods are prepackaged by for-profit distributors into grocery boxes ranging in size from 15-25 lbs. These preassembled boxes are then delivered directly to partner sites who distribute them THE SAME DAY THEY ARE RECEIVED to participating families via a “drive-through” distribution system. By serving families in their vehicles, volunteers are able to maintain safe social distancing in accordance with CDC guidance.
“Thank you so much for this food distribution. We have had so many tell us they don’t know what they would do if it wasn’t for us handing out food weekly. This has been a huge blessing to our community.” – Kim Battles, Susan Moore Schools & Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church
Potential partners might include but not necessarily be limited to the following:
- Child daycare facilities
- Senior care and/or residential facilities
- Public housing authorities / communities
- 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations
- Public libraries
- Colleges / universities / technical schools
NOTE: Individual persons not affiliated with an organization should not apply.
- Ability to conduct outreach to vulnerable populations (e.g., households with children or older adults)
- Ability to recruit and organize volunteers to SAFELY distribute preassembled grocery boxes to a minimum of 100 households per distribution not less than once monthly while strictly adhering to CDC social distancing guidelines.
- Ability to report numbers of households served by each distribution to CFBCA staff once each month.
- A large, level, paved parking lot capable of safely accommodating a 26′ refrigerated box truck.
- Ability/facilities for disposing of large amounts of garbage including bulk food packaging, shrink wrap, and empty pallets.
- A distribution/food staging area accessible by pallet jack (i.e., via a smooth, paved/concrete surface)
- A distribution area conducive to serving participating families directly in their cars via a “drive-through” distribution model.
- Ability to participate in the program for no fewer than 2 consecutive months.
As part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program Secretary Perdue announced on April 17 that the USDA is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute up to $3 billion of agricultural products to those in need. USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat.The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need. Learn more from the USDA.
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