Tallahassee, Fla.– Today, Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) are reminding the state’s farmers and ranchers that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently accepting proposals for its Farmers to Families Food Box Program, with a deadline of 1:00 PM this Friday, May 1. This initiative will purchase $3 billion in domestic agricultural products to distribute to food banks, community groups, and non-profits, and is part of the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funded through the CARES Act.
“As Florida’s farmers navigate the challenges of COVID-19, including reduced demand from foodservice businesses, it’s crucial we connect them to families in need — the Farmers to Families Food Box Program aims to accomplish this goal following our calls for weeks for expanded federal food purchases,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “While we had hoped to see these purchases earlier in the season to allow more Florida farmers to benefit, we’re hopeful this opportunity can mitigate some losses for our producers, ensure food banks can meet demand, and help families access fresh nutrition to stay healthy. I will continue to advocate for Florida farmers with federal and state officials to make sure agriculture is not left behind in COVID-19 relief.”
Through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, the USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other foodservice entities. The USDA will make agricultural purchases estimated at $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products.
Interested distributors and producers must submit proposals by Friday, May 1 at 1:00 PM for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. More information for agricultural producers who would like to participate in the program can be found on the USDA website here, where the Request for Proposal can be downloaded.
For questions about the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program contact USDAFoodBoxDistributionProgram@usda.gov.