About the Program
All public schools, private schools, and residential child care institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program also participate in the School Food Distribution Program. This program is a way to support American agriculture and schools at the same time. The FDP provides a minimum of 12% of all the food served in schools for free! The food provided (over 200 items!) through this program is used to assist the schools in providing to most nutritious breakfast and lunch meals possible. All fruits are canned in water or juice, not syrup, the vegetables are all low sodium, the cheese comes in loaves, slices, or shredded and reduced fat versions are offered. Beef is a lower fat content, and is available raw or in minimally processed varieties, such as patties, crumbles and meatballs. Chicken is available in a variety piece pack, diced chicken, grilled filets, seasoned fajita strips, crumbles and more. Turkey comes in roasts, sandwich slices, crumbles, taco flavored crumbles and more. There is also pork leg roasts, hams and pulled. Schools can also get a variety of flour, pasta, cereal, eggs, pollock and peanut butter!
All schools also have the option to participate in the Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The military already had a network of produce vendors established nationwide for the troops, so USDA just piggybacked on this existing network as a way to get fresh produce to schools. The DoD FFVP provides a higher grade of produce that schools can typically afford through their standard vendors.
School and other entities that operate the Summer Food Service Program are also eligible to receive USDA Foods.