Application Open for the Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables Pilot Program (UFVPP)

Please note – applications are now closed. Thanks to everyone who turned in applications!

School districts throughout California are taking advantage of a new program to purchase fruits and vegetables from a variety of local vendors using USDA Foods entitlement funding.

Why sign up?

The UFVPP gives school districts the opportunity to purchase locally and domestically grown produce from a variety of competitive local vendors. By supporting the program during this Pilot phase, California school districts are participating with seven other states to determine whether the Pilot will be renewed in 2019.

With support of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers will be working with Food Service Directors, UFVPP vendors and California family farms to utilize the Pilot program.

How does it work?

School food authorities (SFAs) submit the following brief application to allocate a portion of their USDA Foods entitlement funding to use with approved local vendors. The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is available to help Food Service Directors find the approved vendors that best fit their needs and navigate bid processes to meet USDA procurement guidelines. If vendors aren’t available or able to be established in some areas of California, SFAs will be able to have the money reallocated in early fall.

CAFF will also be working with SFAs to support California family farms, providing cafeteria educational signage and tracking impact on growers for districts using the Pilot program.

Applications only take a few minutes and are being accepted through February 17th. Sign up now to support local and American growers using USDA foods entitlement funding. 
Please contact Ben Thomas to learn more about connecting with local vendors and resources through CAFF ( 


The full announcement from CDE is as follows:

The California Department of Education Food Distribution Program (FDP) is accepting applications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables. This pilot is intended to provide additional opportunities for schools to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables with USDA Foods entitlement funding while using pre-existing commercial distribution channels and school relationships with approved local growers, produce wholesalers, and distributors. 


School food authorities (SFA) can apply to participate in the pilot for School Year (SY) 2017–18 by submitting the following information by Friday, February 17, 2017, to Sherry Tam, USDA Foods Consultant, by e-mail at
• SFA name and address
• Number of National School Lunch Program participants for SY 2015–16
• Percentage of free or reduced-price meals for SY 2015–16
• Reason for wanting to participate
• Brief description, in one page or less, of any current farm to school initiatives or programs, if applicable
• Dollar amount of entitlement to allocate towards the pilot for SY 2017–18
Approvals will be based on criteria established by the FDP, including geographic region, size of school district, and current farm to school activities. The FDP will thoroughly review all applications, notify SFAs of approval or denial no later than Friday, March 31, 2017.
Please note, SFAs that participate in the pilot may only purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from approved pilot vendors that are on the USDA Pilot Program Eligible Vendors list. The purchase of produce through this pilot does not exempt SFAs from federally-mandated procurement procedures. You can review the USDA Pilot Program Eligible Vendors list and additional information regarding the pilot on the USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables Web page at selling-food/pilot-project.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Sherry Tam, USDA Foods Consultant, by phone at 916-324-9875 or by e-mail at

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