House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro introduced the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act. The Connecticut Democrat says the legislation will increase and improve the Department of Agriculture’s procurement of fresh fruits and vegetables. The bill would require USDA to partner with growers, distributors, and food hubs to provide fresh, U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables to community organizations like schools, food pantries, and youth organizations while prioritizing socially disadvantaged farmers and entities and regional food inequities.
The United Fresh Produce Association welcomed the legislation. United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel states, “This is a monumental step in the right direction in addressing nutrition insecurity and access for nine out of ten Americans who struggle to meet Dietary Guidelines’ fruit and vegetable recommendations.” Late last year, United Fresh convened a working group to embark on a months-long project of providing recommendations on how to reform purchasing practices to be more inclusive of fresh produce.