USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits & Vegetables
Washington State has reserved $850,000 to purchase local produce!
Washington State is one of eight states participating in the USDA Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables, as directed by the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill. The pilot enables school districts to use their USDA Foods entitlement funds to purchase locally-grown, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Through this pilot Washington State hopes to strengthen current school-vendor relationships and broaden the diversity of farms, distributors, and processors selling to schools.
Download the packet below to find out more about the benefits and details on how to participate as a farm, vendor or school!
For Farms, Processors, and Distributors:
The pilot project offers new and current vendors greater access to school markets. It encourages schools to broaden their vendor list and helps farmers develop relationships with their local school district and food nutrition staff. The pilot intends to build business partnerships that will sustain future sales.
How do I become a vendor?
Interested vendors will need to satisfy standards established by USDA's Agricultural Services Marketing (AMS) including a food safety plan, product liability insurance and a food safety audit certification.
See WSDA's flowchart for farms on how to join the USDA Pilot Project as a vendor
To apply and become a vendor:
- Meet the USDA eligibility requirements:
- GAP, GHP, or GMP food safety certification
- Product Liability Insurance
- Fill out the short USDA Pilot Project Vendor Application Form
- Send the forms in, along with proof of your GAP certification, to: FVPilotProject@ams.usda.gov
- Request a DUNS number online
- Register for a System for Award Management (SAM) account online
Your application will be reviewed and approved by the USDA. They may request some more information or details depending on the information you included.
- Schools' most purchased produce items (fresh & processed)
- USDA Pilot Project Farm & Vendor Outreach Flier
- Selling to Schools 101
Any interested Washington NSLP school district can participate in the 2016 - 2017 school year! This enables schools to use their entitlement dollars to purchase 'unprocessed' fruits and vegetables, including produce that has been sliced, diced, chopped, washed, frozen or dried. Foods that have been heat-treated for processing such as canning or pickling, or contain additives, are not eligible. OSPI and WSDA's farm to school team are available to help school districts connect with local vendors and navigate procurement procedures. Schools interested in better understanding the rules and regulations regarding local purchasing should review WSDA's publication, "A School's Guide to Purchasing Washington Grown Food".
How can my school join the USDA Pilot Project?
Schools can participate by calling or emailing Debbie Stevens, with OSPI Child Nutrition Services:
Fill out the USDA Pilot Project School Application Form
OSPI will work with you to help you determine how much entitlement you would like to set aside, and making the allocation.
USDA Pilot Project resources
- Washington's Eligible Vendor list
- Washington's Participating School Districts SY '16-17
- "How to use the USDA Pilot Project" flowchart for schools
- USDA Pilot Project School Outreach Flier
- View or download WSDA & OSPI's Webinar on the USDA Pilot Project (watch below or download slides)
- WSNA Conference Summer 2016 workshop on the USDA Pilot Project: PPT Slide Deck
- WSDA's workshop on Farm to School, procurement and the USDA Pilot Project: PPT Slide Deck
Also see USDA's Food and Nutrition Service webpage for further resources.
WSDA & OSPI's USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits & Vegetables Webinar for Schools
USDA Pilot Project for Unprocessed Fruits &
Vegetables across Washington
*We are working on adding schools and vendors for the upcoming school year!
View the list of all USDA approved vendors nationwide (Schools can only purchase from any USDA approved vendors on this list through the USDA Pilot Project. Schools can encourage their existing or new vendors to apply by having them review the vendor resources above, or get in touch with WSDA!)
Questions? Contact Chris Iberle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 256-1874.