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Know Where Your Food Comes From with USDA Foods

Posted by Janna Raudenbush, Public Affairs Specialist, Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition Farming
May 25, 2016
USDA Foods Map
Map of the dollar value of USDA Foods purchased in FY 2014; icons represent the states that are the largest sources of a particular type of USDA Foods. (Click to view a larger version)

Do you know where your food comes from?  If you can pinpoint where your food was grown and produced, you can make more informed decisions to maximize quality, freshness, and nutritional value.  You can also help support local economies through your purchases.  The USDA Foods program takes this mantra to heart and publishes state of origin reports with procurement information on all USDA Foods every year.  As we like to say at FNS, “All USDA Foods are local to someone.”

USDA Foods are 100 percent American grown and produced.  Each year, USDA procures more than 200 types of food, including meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, flour, cereals, and dairy products, totaling approximately $2 billion.  Organizations such as food banks, disaster and emergency feeding organizations, Indian Tribal Organizations, schools, and other feeding groups receive these USDA Foods for use in meal service or distribution to households through programs like the National School Lunch Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

A recent report on the state of origin of USDA Foods found that USDA Foods procures food from more than three-quarters of all states.  California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois are the five states with the highest dollar amounts of USDA Foods purchases.  A number of items available through USDA Foods are sourced solely from one state.  For example, 100 percent of the strawberries purchased by USDA Foods in FY2014 came from the state of California.  During this time, California schools received approximately 3.3 million pounds of this locally produced product through the USDA Foods program.  All of the wild blueberries came from Maine and all the catfish were purchased from Mississippi.

States and schools can use this sourcing information and other purchasing trends available on our website to tailor their USDA Foods purchases accordingly, or they can simply purchase with confidence, knowing that all USDA Foods purchases help strengthen the American economy by supporting a local community somewhere across the country.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition Farming