Section 4202 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79), otherwise known as the Farm Bill, amended Section 6 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1755(f)) to provide for a pilot project for the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables in not more than eight States receiving funds under Section 6. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will work closely with USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to implement this pilot project.
The pilot project will provide State Distributing Agencies (SDAs) in selected States additional flexibility in the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables. School food authorities (SFAs) in selected States, or SDAs acting on behalf of participating SFAs, will be permitted to competitively solicit a USDA-approved vendor using USDA Foods National School Lunch Program (NSLP) entitlement funds. SDAs or SFAs will also be able to use pre-existing commercial distribution channels and relationships with growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors. Use of geographic preference, as allowed by FNS regulation, is permitted in the procurement of these products.
- USDA Selects States for Participation in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables – The December 8, 2014 press release which announces the States selected to participate in the pilot project.
- Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables: Request for Application Guidance and Procedures for Selection of States and Schools - This memorandum is a request for application and sets forth the guidance and procedures for interested SDAs to be considered for participation in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables, with deliveries anticipated to begin in the middle of the 2014-2015 School Year (SY). Interested SDAs must submit an application no later than September 30, 2014 to be considered for selection beginning in SY 2014-2015.
- July 2014 Information Sheet: The Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables - An information sheet on the pilot program.
- Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables - This website contains information and materials for vendors interested in participating in the pilot project.
- Webinar on the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables – USDA held a webinar on August 7, 2014 which outlined the Request for Application and provided an opportunity for States and School Food Authorities to ask questions about the pilot project.
- Webinar II on the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables – USDA held its second webinar on the pilot project on September 10, which provided an overview of the pilot project and vendor eligibility requirements and gave SDAs and SFAs an opportunity to ask questions.
- Questions and Answers Related to the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables - This memorandum is meant to clarify the procedures outlined in the Request for Application for NSLP SDAs and SFAs interested in participating in the pilot project.
NSLP SDAs with questions regarding the pilot project should contact Carolyn Smalkowski at Carolyn.Smalkowski@fns.usda.gov, or 703-305-2674, or Christina Conell at Christina.Conell@fns.usda.gov, or 415-705-1353.