DoD Fresh

Partnership between USDA and the Department of Defense (DoD)

What is DoD Fresh?

Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (DoD Fresh) is an optional program that allows schools to use their USDA Foods entitlement dollars to buy fresh produce.

How does DoD Fresh work?

The Defense Logistics Agency manages contracts with local produce vendors who in turn work with growers to supply Indiana schools with fresh produce. Schools can view the catalog of offerings from the produce vendor serving their area via an online ordering system. DoD analyzes the product prices and the vendor updates the catalog on a weekly basis. In addition, most vendors send a weekly newsletter with product information. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) does a pre-allocation or "draws down" of the amount committed to the program. This amount is subtracted from the Recipient Agency (RA)'s entitlement dollars prior to the pre-order survey. Once the draw done is done, the entitlement dollars cannot be returned for any reason. DoD Fresh is a different program from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), which has separate requirements and functions.

What are the advantages of DoD Fresh?

Flexibility: States can change DoD Fresh allocations on a monthly basis, which allows them to utilize USDA Foods entitlement dollars more effectively. USDA does not impose a cap on the amount of entitlement dollars that can be allocated to DoD purchases.

Consistency: DoD Fresh vendors update the catalog weekly, and schools can receive weekly deliveries, making orders timely, fresh, and responsive to market fluctuations.

High Quality: DoD maintains high quality standards trough Produce Quality Audits, encouraging vendors to follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP), and requiring that pre-cut and packaged produce is sourced from approved suppliers.

Variety: DoD Fresh vendors offer as many as 50 different types of produce, available in multiple forms (whole, pre-cut, and a variety of pack sizes) and from multiple locales (local and non-local items are routinely offered)

Easy Ordering and Funds Tracking: Sponsors place orders via the web-based Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Order/Receipt System (FFAVORS). The prices listed in the FFAVORS catalog reflect the prices that schools will be billed for the product. FFAVORS tracks sponsors' entitlement fund balances and total order costs. DoD manages vendor payment and reconciliation.

Purchasing local foods through DoD Fresh

DoD vendors are encouraged to purchase local products and about fifteen to twenty percent of the produce DoD provides to schools is currently considered local. Products are designated as local by the produce vendors and are marked with a local tag in the FFAVORS catalog. In addition, vendors can list the state of origin for each product. Currently, local denotes that the produce is sourced from within the state of service, the contact award zone or adjacent states. In all cases, local or regionally sourced products must meet the quantity and quality requirements necessary for the contract and be priced competitively.
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What should sponsors do if they want to source local foods through DoD Fresh?

Sponsors that want to purchase local foods through DoD Fresh should start by looking for products already marked as local in the FFAVORS catalog. Sponsors can also contact their DoD Fresh produce vendor to find out which local products the vendor expects to carry throughout the year, or to make their desires for local product known to their DoD Fresh produce vendor.

How is the program funded?

The Farm Bill requires at least $50 million in commodity entitlement funds be used each year to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to schools and service institutions through the DoD Fresh program. Since there is no cap, USDA accommodates all requests for additional entitlement allocations to DoD Fresh throughout the program year. IDOE works with sponsors to determine how much to allocate to the program.


Cheryl Moore

Food Distribution Program Specialist

View IDOE's DoD Fresh Quick Guide here.