State and federal programs offer fresh food products.
Efforts designed to help farmers and consumers are underway in programs through the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the USDA.
The GDA’s Georgia Grown To-Go Program held pop-up markets in Northwest Georgia, DeKalb County and Cobb County. The markets offered consumers the chance to purchase fresh produce directly from farmers with limited-contact, drive-through service.
“We are excited to offer this great opportunity to help bridge the gap between consumers in metro areas and our farmers in South Georgia,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said. “With foodservice channels limited, Georgia Grown To-Go pop up markets are a great and innovative way to make sure our consumers have access to the Georgia Grown products they crave. We have enjoyed joining forces with our local government and non-profit partners in an effort to best serve our communities during this unprecedented time.”
Meanwhile, the USDA has awarded funding to at least five Georgia providers with more than $13 million as a part of the Farmers to Families Food Box program, part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program (CFAP).
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue promoted the program during an event June 1 at the Forest Park State Farmers Market, noting that the first round of approved applicants accounted for $1.2 billion of the $3 billion allotted for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
“We’re going to go back and look at all those that for some reason didn’t qualify,” Perdue said. “It was a very competitive process and they were graded. We’re going to look and make sure it just wasn’t technical, things that can be learned and they can be guided through how they can qualify and participate going forward. We hope we’ll have another round.”
Nationwide, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with food suppliers whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products. On May 15, suppliers began packaging these products into family-sized boxes, then transporting them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need. The program continues through June 30.