Section 4202 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (PL 113-79), otherwise known as the Farm Bill, amended Section 6 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 USC 1755(f)) to provide for a pilot project for the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables in not more than eight states receiving funds under Section 6. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works closely with USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to implement this pilot project.
The pilot project provides state distributing agencies (SDAs) in selected states additional flexibility in the procurement of unprocessed fruits and vegetables. School food authorities (SFAs) in selected states, or SDAs acting on behalf of participating SFAs, are permitted to competitively solicit a USDA-approved vendor using USDA Foods National School Lunch Program entitlement funds. SDAs or SFAs can also use pre-existing commercial distribution channels and relationships with growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors. Use of geographic preference, as allowed by FNS regulation, is permitted in the procurement of these products.
- USDA Selects States for Participation in the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables – The Dec. 8, 2014 press release which announces the states selected to participate in the pilot project.
- Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables - This website contains information and materials for vendors interested in participating in the pilot project.
- Evaluation of the Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables - This evaluation examines the quantity and cost of each type of fruit and vegetable in the pilot, characteristics of participating school food authorities, states' perceptions of the challenges and benefits to participation, and comparisons to USDA Foods and the USDA Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the first two years of the pilot.
- Contact information - The list contains the contact information for each state administering the pilot, as well as the main USDA contacts.
For general inquiries, please email the FNS pilot mailbox at UnprocessedFVPilot@usda.gov