Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Encouraging schools to purchase from local farms

New York State recently announced that it has been chosen to participate in a USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables.  The goal of the Pilot Project is to develop additional opportunities for schools to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with USDA funding, and develop new relationships with farmersgrowersproduce wholesalers, and distributors.  The USDA pilot program encourages the use of locally-grown foods in National School Lunch Programs by allowing locally-grown foods to be purchased with the USDA funds annually allocated to schools.

Ø  This is a great opportunity for vendors such as farmers, growers, aggregators, food hubsand the like to grow and expand their local customer base.

Ø  Vendors of all sizes - both large and small - have the opportunity to tap into an existing and expanding market.

Ø  Over 800 New York State School Districts currently in the National School Lunch Program have USDA funding to procure commodities through this pilot program.

Ø  Fresh fruits and vegetables, minimally processed items such as apple slices, as well as IQF frozen locally sourced produce, are all eligible under this program for year-round purchasing.

Ø  As soon as a vendor is placed on the USDA Approved Vendor list, they can begin to do business under the pilot program.

Please follow this link to begin your application process: