USDA’s Systems Change Opportunity

Boxes of local fresh produce can provide stabilizing income to farmers and meet the needs of communities facing food insecurity

The local food sector, along with just about everyone else, has learned some valuable lessons from the pandemic. One such learning came from USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Though the program had many flaws and challenges, it also turned out to provide a huge boost to small and local farmers, and got lots of healthy fresh food to people in need. Over the course of 2020, Wallace provided TA to locally-focused Farmers to Families contractors, and then researched the impacts, benefits, and pitfalls of this program. Through that process, we realized that local food supply chains and community based organizations that provide food to their neighbors are particularly well suited to excel in this system. We were honored to speak to FoodPrint about this finding and the potential benefits associated with USDA buying more locally grown food to support food insecure families. We also created a detailed report about our learnings from this research.

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