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FD-151: TEFAP Questions and Answers about Farm to Food Bank Projects

EO Guidance Document #
FNS-GD-2021-0106
Resource type
Policy Memos
FAQs/Q&As
Guidance Documents
DATE: October 1, 2021
POLICY NO: FD-151: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
SUBJECT: Questions and Answers about Farm to Food Bank Projects
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
MARO, MPRO, MWRO, NERO, SERO, SWRO, and WRO
State Directors
All TEFAP State Agencies

FNS annually makes funding available to TEFAP state agencies to pay for projects to harvest, process, package, or transport commodities donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors for use by emergency feeding organizations (EFOs). These projects are known as Farm to Food Bank projects. The purpose of this memorandum is to answer commonly asked Farm to Food Bank project questions. Federal regulations related to Farm to Food Bank projects can be found at 7 CFR 251.6 and 7 CFR 251.10.

State agencies should contact their respective FNS regional offices with any questions that they may have about this memorandum.

Laura Castro
Director
Food Distribution Division

1. What are some examples of Farm to Food Bank Projects?

Please see FY 2020 Farm to Food Bank Project Summaries and FY 2021 Farm to Food Bank Project Summaries to read about how TEFAP state agencies have utilized Farm to Food Bank Project funding in past fiscal years.

2. Can Farm to Food Bank project funds be applied to grocery rescue programs?

No. Grocery rescue programs (as traditionally understood) do not involve foods donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors. Instead, they involve foods donated by retailers. Such programs do not meet the purposes of Farm to Food Bank project funds, which are to (a) reduce food waste at the agricultural production, processing, or distribution level through the donation of food, (b) provide food to individuals in need, and (c) build relationships between agricultural producers, processors, and distributors and EFOs through the donation of food.

3. Can Farm to Food Bank project funding be used for agricultural products such as livestock and animal by-products?

Yes. Farm to Food Bank project funds can be used for any type of food that is originally unharvested, unprocessed, or unpackaged, and that is donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors. Animals and animal by-products that meet these requirements could be harvested, processed, packaged, or transported with Farm to Food Bank funding.

4. Can Farm to Food Bank project funding be used to plant foods that will be donated in the future?

No. Farm to Food Bank project funds can only be used for the costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, or transporting privately donated foods, and cannot be used for other agricultural production activities such as purchasing seeds or planting crops. Planting foods does not align with the projects' intended purpose to reduce food waste.

5. Can Farm to Food Bank project funds be used to purchase foods?

No. Farm to Food Bank project funds cannot be used to purchase foods. Farm to Food Bank foods must be donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors. Purchasing foods does not align with the projects' intended purpose to reduce food waste and build relationships through the donation of food.

6. Can state agencies and partner EFOs collaborate on a Farm to Food Bank project with producers, processors, and distributors that are located outside of their state?

Yes. TEFAP state agencies may partner with any domestic producers, processors, or distributors and are not limited to only those within their state's jurisdiction. However, Farm to Food Bank project funding should only be distributed to producers, processors, or distributors within the United States and its Territories.

7. Can partner EFOs work with non-TEFAP agencies to distribute Farm to Food Bank foods?

Yes. Partner EFOs may work with both TEFAP eligible recipient agencies and non-TEFAP agencies to distribute Farm to Food Bank project foods to individuals in need. Farm to Food Bank Project foods are not considered TEFAP/USDA Foods and are not subject to the associated TEFAP/ USDA Foods requirements. However, we encourage state agencies and partner TEFAP EFOs to ensure that at least some portion of the foods gathered via a TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Project are distributed through TEFAP agencies in the state.

8. Do recipients of TEFAP Farm to Food Bank project foods need to meet TEFAP eligibility requirements?

No. Recipients of Farm to Food Bank project foods do not need to meet TEFAP eligibility requirements. Farm to Food Bank project foods are not considered TEFAP/USDA Foods and are not subject to the associated TEFAP/ USDA Foods recipient eligibility requirements. The only requirement for the foods is that they are provided to individuals in need. That said, we encourage state agencies and partner TEFAP EFOs to ensure that at least some portion of the foods gathered via a TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Project are made available to TEFAP recipients in the state.

9. Can Farm to Food Bank project funds be used to pay a volunteer stipend or a staff member salary?

Yes. It is allowable to use TEFAP Farm to Food Bank project funds to pay for a volunteer stipend or a staff member salary if the volunteer/staff member is working on the Farm to Food Bank project and all applicable cost allocation principles are followed. Farm to Food Bank project funds can be used for the same allowable costs as regular TEFAP administrative funds as long as the costs are related specifically to the Farm to Food Bank project. Allowable TEFAP administrative costs are defined in 7 CFR 251.8(e) and interpreted in FNS Instruction 716-3.

10. Can Farm to Food Bank project funds be used to pay an AmeriCorps volunteer's stipend?

Yes. Farm to Food Bank project funds may be used to pay an AmeriCorps stipend, if the volunteer/staff member is working on the TEFAP Farm to Food Bank project, prior permission is granted from FNS, and all proper Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) reporting guidelines are followed. CNCS administers AmeriCorps and allows grantees to use funds from other federal agencies (i.e., Farm to Food Bank project funds) to pay for volunteer stipends, but grantees are required to inform the other involved federal agency (i.e., FNS) of their intention to use funding for that purpose. CNCS may also require separate reporting if other federal funds (i.e., Farm to Food Bank project funds) are used to pay the stipend.

Updated: 10/01/2021

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.