Analysis Results in Recommendations for Strengthening Farmers to Families Food Box Program

USDA launched the Farmers to Families Food Box Program in April 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. In this program, USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) contracts with farms, farmer associations, and distributors to purchase and distribute fresh produce, dairy, and meat to nonprofit organizations, such as food banks. According to a new report by Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has accomplished much and can serve as a model for future USDA fresh food purchasing and distribution efforts, but it also faces several significant critiques. The analysis notes that there is tremendous potential for USDA to make changes to support more small- and mid-size farms and farms owned by women and people of color; better alleviate hunger; and mitigate senseless food waste. The report offers recommendations to strengthen the program and suggests that it could serve as the model for a long-term food system solution.