Grant Advisors Ray Sweeney and Frank Klimko have been watching this Agriculture Department plan that would give up to eight states greater discretion in using USDA foods entitlement dollars to purchase locally-grown unprocessed fruits and vegetables for the school lunch table.
Deadline: Sept. 30.
USDA is seeking applications for the new demo waiver program, Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables, to grant schools in winning states increased flexibility in buying local food with their National School Lunch Program funding.
Schools, through state education agencies, will be permitted to competitively solicit a USDA-approved vendor using USDA entitlement funds. What’s new is that schools will also be allowed to use pre-existing commercial distribution channels and relationships with growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors if they are local.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service will conduct conference calls in August and September to answer questions and provide technical assistance with the application process to states that wish to apply. Details on the calls are TBA. FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to NSLP, these programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Summer Food Service Program.