Specialty crop producers want a permanent food box program

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Specialty crop producers want a permanent food box program

A specialty crop organization leader would like to see permanent, ongoing funding for the Farmers to Families Food Box program. 

Tom Stenzel with United Fresh Produce says, “That’s one program that we want to see continued.”

Stenzel says the food box program helped both growers and consumers in need. “That program has delivered more fresh produce in people in need across America than anything we’ve ever done as a country so, food stamps are important, WIC (Women Infants and Children) is important, all of those programs, but we’ve now got a new delivery channel that I think is critical for the long term.”

Michael Joyner with the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association says his daughter works with a community food program, so he hears about what programs need improvement. “(USDA’s) Section 32 has never seemed to work for fresh produce. I hope that this program is a permanent program.”

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is currently funded by three coronavirus assistance packages and just received another 1.5 billion in the omnibus spending bill.  An alliance of specialty crop organizations might ask Congress to fund the food box program in the next farm bill.

Stenzel and Joyner made their comments Thursday during this year’s Potato Expo.