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Food Box program changes require larger combo boxes

The USDA confirmed that the next round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program bids will be unlike the previous ones.

Hilary Cole, contracting officer for the program within USDA, said on a July 28 webinar that companies wishing to participate in the September 1 to October 31 round must resubmit a proposal, even if it has participated thus far.

Additionally, some other changes will occur, including:

  • the food boxes will now be required to include fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat, and weigh 30 to 40 pounds. They can be in the same box or adjacent boxes, but they must all be delivered together.
  • a PACA license is required to submit a bid.
  • USDA requires more thorough documentation of a company’s plan, including naming subcontractors, non-profit partners and providing references.
  • the bid must include a complete description of food box contents and pricing.
  • the bid must explain the last mile delivery plan. No costs may be passed on to non-profit recipients.

Cole said offerors may submit bids any time, and there’s no deadline, but when a region’s food box needs are filled, no more bids will be accepted, so companies should submit bids as soon as they can.

She said more details will be added to the food box website, including a replay of the July 28 webinar.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services