As part of USDA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) plans to spend $3 billion for vendors to purchase, package, and deliver boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat to non-profit distribution centers such as food banks, schools, churches, and community groups.
According to AMS officials, this will not be “a normal purchasing program” that buys truckloads of agricultural commodities. Instead vendors will assemble boxes containing a variety of products that are ready to load “off the truck and into the trunk.” Vendors are also responsible for developing a distribution plan.
The request for proposals for the program was released on Friday, April 24 and provides specific application requirements. Applications will be due May 1 and must include
• a pricing proposal
• a past performance evaluation
• a technical proposal describing
o how the vendor supports American agriculture
o how the distribution plan maximizes the number of food recipients in a geographic location
o how the vendor will pay subcontractors and document deliveries.
The request for proposals and additional information on the program are posted at https://www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box.