As promised, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its solicitation for proposals for the Buy Fresh Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program.
The program will purchase and distribute $100 million a month of fresh fruit and vegetables for as long as six months, according to USDA officials.
The USDA is awarding contracts for distributors to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, assemble them into commodity boxes and deliver them to identified food banks, food pantries, churches, schools and other non-profit and governmental organizations that can receive and distribute food items. Proposals will be due May 1, according to the release.
The AMS will schedule a conference call the week of April 27 for additional questions about the process, according to the USDA.
Questions about the program can be submitted to USDAFoodBoxDistributionProgram@usda.gov, according to the release.
A recording of an April 23 United Fresh/USDA web seminar about the program is available online.
United Fresh published a list of frequently asked questions about the program:
- Who is eligible to apply? Any company that can procure, assemble, and distribute the produce boxes to non-profits.
- What types of fruits and vegetables are eligible and how much should be in each box? Answer: Any domestic fresh fruit or vegetable is allowable, including fresh-cut and value-added items. Only fresh commodities are eligible.
- Will USDA provide a list of nonprofits and food banks eligible? Companies will be required to identify the nonprofits for delivery as part of their proposal. The USDA will provide a list of food banks that participate in other federal food distribution programs, but it is not an all-inclusive list and applicants must contact the non-profit on their own.