USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak announced this week that as of April 30th the Farmers to Family Food Box program will be discontinued and USDA fresh produce boxes will now be delivered as part of the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) through September 2021. Vilsack said President Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget will ask for more funds for the TEFAP program.
The Farmers to Family program was created under the Trump Administration and is funded as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) which was authorized by the CARES Act. The program consists of USDA purchases of American grown produce, meat, and dairy products for food boxes that are distributed nationwide to people in need. The program created a valuable and necessary market for commodities whose traditional markets have been impacted by COVID-19.
CCM staff is engaging with USDA to ensure that the benefits of the Farms to Family program producers are sustained under TEFAP. The association will submit written comments advocating that all citrus varieties be included on the approved products list.
Details of the program including eligible commodities and funding have not been announced. USDA has, however, issued a pre-solicitation announcement, stating that the produce boxes will include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that meet the following requirements:
- A 10–12-pound package that includes a minimum of at least four of the following: 3-5 pounds of vegetables (no more than 3 pounds of root vegetables; i.e., potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, etc.), 3-5 pounds of fruit; at least 2 locally grown fruit or vegetable items, as available, and if not available, add an additional fruit and vegetable item to meet a minimum package weight range of 10-12 pounds; and
- Packages will be expected to have a shelf life of 7-10 days once delivered to the location listed on the contract.
We will continue to share more about TEFAP as information becomes available.
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