Child Nutrition Information
Child Nutrition Services
23 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0023
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RFA Announced for New Bill Farm Pilot Program
Last week, Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon announced the release of a Request for Applications (RFA) from states interested in participating in a new pilot project authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Under the pilot, up to eight states across five regions will be granted flexibility in using a portion of their USDA Foods entitlement dollars to purchase locally-grown unprocessed fruits and vegetables for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
The pilot project will provide the selected states additional flexibility in the procurement of locally-grown unprocessed fruits and vegetables. School food authorities (SFAs) in these states, or State Distributing Agencies (SDAs) acting on behalf of participating SFAs, will be permitted to competitively solicit a USDA-approved vendor using USDA Foods National School Lunch Program (NSLP) entitlement funds. SDAs or SFAs will also be able to use pre-existing commercial distribution channels and relationships with growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors.
When schools invest food dollars into local communities, all of agriculture benefits, including local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, food processors and manufacturers. According to the Farm to School Census, in school year 2011-2012, schools participating in farm to school activities purchased and served more than $385 million in local food, with more than half of participating schools planning to purchase even more local foods in future school years.
The Food and Nutrition Service will conduct conference webinars in August (see below) and September to answer questions and provide technical assistance with the application process to states that wish to apply. Interested SDAs must submit an application no later than September 30, 2014 to be considered for selection beginning in School Year 2014-2015. For a copy of the request and more information about the pilot, visit www.fns.usda.gov/fdd.