Tuesday, December 09, 2014

USDA pilot program to enable schools in eight states to purchase locally grown produce

USDA photo
As part of the Farm Bill, eight states will participate in a pilot program to increase purchases of locally grown fruits and vegetables for school meals, reports Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. The states participating in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables are California, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

About 20 percent of food served in schools comes from a list of 180 U.S. Department of Agriculture foods that schools choose from, but the pilot program will allow states "to purchase unprocessed fruits and vegetables directly, instead of going through the USDA Foods program," Agri-Pulse writes.

The program "is designed to support the schools' pre-existing relationships with vendors, growers, produce wholesalers and distributors—and increase the use of locally-grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables in school meal programs," Agri-Pulse writes. "While the pilot does not require sourcing locally grown foods, the project will enable schools to increase their use of locally-grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables from Agriculture Marketing Service authorized vendors." (Read more)

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