Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

The Unprocessed Fruit and Vegetable Pilot

Information regarding the Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables available to participants of the Food Distribution Program (FDP).

The California Department of Education (CDE) FDP is approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the Pilot Project for the Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables. The goal of the pilot is to provide additional opportunities for FDP recipient agencies (RA) to use entitlement funds on fresh fruits and vegetables from USDA-approved pilot vendors.

Application Process

RAs must be approved by the FDP prior to procuring produce through the pilot. Approvals are based on established criteria, including geographic region, size of school district, participation method, and current farm to school activities. The FDP will solicit for applications when sufficient funding becomes available and will announce the application period by standard Nutrition Services Division Listserv. RAs interested in participating in the Pilot may be to be placed on a waiting list by submitting a request to the FDP pilot email address at FFVPilot@cde.ca.gov.

Note: Interested RAs should view the USDA-approved vendors list to ensure approved pilot vendors are in distribution proximity.

Procurement Requirements

State and federal procurement regulations and procedures must be followed when establishing contracts with each vendor. For details related to procurement regulations, please visit the CDE Procurement in School Nutrition Programs web page.

For additional information regarding pilot produce procurement and contract language, please see the Pilot Procurement Requirements web page.

Receipting Process and Recipient Agency Responsibilities

At the time of delivery, the RA is responsible for inspecting the produce and signing the delivery invoice, noting counts received and any issues with the quality of produce. The vendor will submit the signed delivery document and completed pilot invoice spreadsheet to the RA for final approval within one business day of delivery. The RA is responsible for approving the received vendor’s invoice spreadsheet within one business day. Once the vendor receives the final approval from the RA, the vendor sends all approved documentation to the USDA and within 10 business days, the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service will pay the invoice and notify the vendor, RA, and the CDE FDP for record keeping purposes. Please note that any invoice disputes must be resolved by the RA and vendor directly. While the RA is responsible for resolving contract disputes with the vendor, the RA should inform the CDE FDP of any issues.

Entitlement Allotment and Tracking Responsibilities

By January of each year, RAs must submit their allocated entitlement amount for the following school year to the FDP. The FDP will send requests for this information to all participating agencies during the preceding months. RAs are responsible for tracking their entitlement usage for the pilot and ensuring that they do not overspend the total allocated amount. If an RA spends more than their allocated amount, the FDP may require the RA to cancel orders received through the pilot, causing the RA to pay for the produce with alternate funding sources, such as an RA’s cafeteria fund. Remaining USDA Foods entitlement not initially allocated for the pilot cannot be used to cover over expenditures without prior approval from the FDP.  

Administrative Fee

The CDE assesses an administrative fee per case or case equivalent delivered to the RA. This charge supports CDE costs associated with the administration of this pilot. RAs are invoiced at the end of each school year after the USDA has reconciled all deliveries, historically in mid-August. For fee information, please view Management Bulletin (MB) FDP-03-2017: New Program Fees for Agencies Receiving U.S. Department of Agriculture Food on the CDE FDP MB web page.

Vendor Lists

RAs may only procure pilot produce from USDA-approved pilot vendors listed in the Pilot Program Eligible Vendor List below. The USDA also provides the following Pilot Program Pending Eligible Vendor List, which lists vendors that are currently in the approval process. The FDP recommends that RAs encourage their local produce vendor(s) to apply for the pilot for the purposes of continued growth and supporting locally procured products.

Vendor Information

For vendors interested in becoming approved for the Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables Pilot, please see our CDE FDP Vendor Information web page.

USDA Evaluation of the Pilot

A USDA led evaluation was conducted by a study team using purchase data from the pilot’s first three school years (2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16) and data collected through interviews with participating state agencies. To view the full report and other helpful information, visit the USDA Evaluation of Pilot Project for Procurement of Unprocessed Fruits and Vegetables web page External link opens in new window or tab..

CDE Pilot Contacts

Email general pilot questions to:
FFVPilot@cde.ca.gov

For entitlement and invoice questions, please contact:
Sherry Tam, USDA Foods Consultant
Phone: 916-324-9875
Fax: 916-327-4004
Email: stam@cde.ca.gov

USDA Pilot Resources

USDA Pilot web page External link opens in new window or tab.

USDA Pilot Email:
UnprocessedFVPilot@usda.gov

Questions:   Food Distribution Program | 916-323-0865
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Related Content
  • Food Distribution
    Information about United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food commodities, Department of Defense (DoD) fresh produce, distribution centers, and processing of USDA Foods.
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • 2021 Taste of CA Challenge Grant Recipients (added 03-May-2021)
    The California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division awarded 20 Taste of California Standardized Recipe Challenge Grantees.
  • Meal Programs (updated 29-Apr-2021)
    CalEdFacts on the Child Nutrition Program meal programs.
  • CACFP Resources for Crediting Grains as Oz Eq (added 27-Apr-2021)
    Announcement of California Department of Education resources to provide guidance to Child and Adult Care Food Program Operators on crediting grains as ounce equivalents.
  • CA LSWP Webinar: SNPs and Student Mental Health (added 27-Apr-2021)
    The California Local School Wellness Policy Collaborative is hosting Winning at Wellness webinars every two months to provide an opportunity for schools to discuss updates in local school wellness policy requirements, best practices and resources.
  • COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #83 (added 23-Apr-2021)
    This waiver allows sponsors that successfully participated in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, but did not operate in 2020, due to COVID-19, to operate as experienced sponsors in FY 2021.

  • COVID-19 Response Nationwide Waivers SY 21-22 (added 23-Apr-2021)
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service has released COVID-19 Response Nationwide Waivers for school year 2021-2022.
  • Creating Brave Spaces in Early Childhood Webinars (added 23-Apr-2021)
    Creating Brave Spaces in Early Childhood Webinar Series, with Superintendent Tony Thurmond, discusses research on racial bias and its disproportionate effect on children of color.
  • Reimbursement for Emergency Shelters (added 20-Apr-2021)
    Reimbursement for Emergency Shelters during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for CACFP meals served to young adults.
  • Farm to Summer Celebration Week (added 20-Apr-2021)
    Information about California’s Farm to Summer Celebration Week for summer meal program operators, including background, activities, trainings, partners, resources, awardees, and contact information.
  • Proposition 12 FAQs for Stakeholders (added 19-Apr-2021)
    The CDE NSD is sharing the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s newly posted Frequently Asked Questions related to Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative which effects raw egg and pork products received in California.