Support Available for USDA Farmers to Food Box Program Contractors and Distribution Sites

Since March, the Wallace Center has been supporting food systems leaders to navigate the COVID pandemic, including facilitating a COVID-19 Response Group Listserv  and hosting numerous calls to share resources, ask questions, and gain clarity around federal support programs specific to COVID. (Not part of the ListServ yet? Sign up here!) Please read on for information relevant to Farmers to Families Food Box Program Contractors and Nonprofit Distribution Sites:
Information for Farmers to Families Food Box Program Contractors:
When the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program was announced, we hosted a listening session, shared your concerns and questions with USDA, and brought in folks with expertise in federal contracting to support those submitting bids to AMS. We also heard from many of you in a survey around anticipated challenges and support that you might need should you be awarded, including support with financing, federal contracting, and ensuring sufficient capacity – both labor and physical infrastructure – to meet demand. See below for the high-level insights from that survey.
Now that those contracts have been awarded, the Wallace Center will be providing support to contracted organizations and enterprises that are focused on local and regional procurements. We are committed to supporting you to successfully execute the terms of your contracts, return value to producers and families in need, and shine light on the resiliency, responsiveness, and value of local and regional food systems.
If you have been awarded a contract through the Farmers to Family Food Box Program, please join us for a call on Wednesday, May 27 from 4:30-5:30pm Eastern to connect with other contracted organizations, identify technical assistance needs, and tap into the knowledge of your peers.
Please register for the call here or forward along to someone you know who has been awarded this contract. Please note this call is only for those who have been awarded a contract.
If you are a lead contractor looking to partner with folks in your region, this list of over 150 food and farm businesses and organizations across the country was crowdsourced by listserv members. Take a look at the list of products others can provide and the support organizations ready to partner with you to distribute boxes, and reach out to folks directly. We’re also planning to provide support to those of you who are partnering with the lead contractor, stay tuned for more details.
Information for Nonprofit Distribution sites:
The USDA released more information today on the organizations that received contracts to purchase and distribute food boxes under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. If would like to receive boxes to distribute in your community, USDA suggests you should contact the distributor that has been awarded the contract for your service area. You can visit this page to find contact information for contractors in your region.
Non-profits organizations, schools, Indian Tribal Organizations, and government entities are all eligible to receive and distribute boxes from distributors under contract. For more information on eligibility as a box distribution site see this FAQ.
We are exploring how we might help make connections between community-based food access organizations and contractors, with an emphasis on contractors procuring from local and regional producers. If you are already coordinating or would like to connect with a contractor to serve as a box recipient and distribution site in this program, please let us know by completing this brief survey. We will hold a call for nonprofit distribution partners in 2 weeks to troubleshoot challenges, identify technical assistance needs, and share models of what’s working.
The distribution window for food boxes in the first round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program begins May 15.
Thanks so much for all that you do. Please reach out if you have any questions.
The Wallace Center