Fresh Produce for Schools
Based on feedback from schools and other stakeholders, the USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) are conducting a pilot program to bring more fresh produce into schools. Schools in Michigan and Florida will participate in the pilot.
The goal of the fresh produce pilot is to give schools additional options to purchase fresh produce for their school meal programs and allow for use of locally-grown foods. The pilot will test a method and process for schools to use entitlement funding for fresh fruits and vegetables purchased by the USDA from qualified domestic suppliers.
Schools will seek bids and contract with suppliers that qualify under the AMS Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program, including local produce sources. When soliciting bids and awarding contracts, schools will have the option to include local preferences for the source of the fresh produce.
This method should leverage existing commercial distribution channels, as well as current relationships between schools and growers, produce wholesalers and distributors.