Harvard, NSAC: Farmers to Families Food Box program a food distribution ‘model’
The Farmers to Families Food Box Program launched by the Trump administration “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,” according to a report by Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).
“The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is unique in its role to support both farmers and people who lack the resources to access the food they need,” said Emily Broad Leib, faculty director for the FLPC.
“However, 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.
“Our report offers recommendations to strengthen the program accordingly. It is critical for USDA to address these issues as our economy struggles amid COVID-19; further, with changes, this program also could serve as the model for a long-term food system solution.”
“USDA’s swift implementation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program provided many small farmers and food hubs with a desperately needed lifeline amidst the pandemic,” said Wes King, senior policy specialist at the NSAC.
“However, changes made to the program as it evolved had the unintended consequence of depriving the small, mid-sized, people of color- and women-owned farms and food hubs with continued support through the program. It’s critical that in future iterations of the program the USDA threads the needle in a way that alleviates hunger while also supporting the full diversity of American agriculture.”
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