For the first time pre-cooked Florida seafood products will be purchased by the federal government for distribution to Americans in need as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box program, according to the Florida Farm Bureau.
The first round of food boxes was distributed in May 2020, with more than 132 million food boxes distributed since the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced early last year.
The Farmers to Families Food Box program is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using authority provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, USDA partnered with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces were significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase and distribute agricultural products to Americans in need.
In this fifth round, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that $1.5 billion worth of food was purchased for distribution. For the first time seafood joins fresh produce, meat and dairy, seafood in the combination boxes. The additional funding for this fifth round of the program was included in the COVID-19 relief package as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed December 21, 2020.
“This new round of Farmers to Families Food Boxes will go a long way in helping American families access nutritious and healthy meals as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Perdue in a USDA release.
Over 240 organizations have previously received distributions from the program. Those organizations will again be solicited by the government to determine contract awards. Those solicitations are expected to be issued by the end of this week, with contract awards expected to be made by January 19. Deliveries will begin shortly after awards are issued and continue through the end of April.