Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Food Distribution Programs

National School Lunch Program

Kids in lunch line

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It allows children in public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions to receive nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches. Approximately 12 percent of the NSLP support schools receive may be in the form of USDA commodity foods that are used in the preparation of the students’ meals. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is responsible for providing these USDA commodities to participating schools in Florida.

To be eligible to receive commodities, the schools must be approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for participation in the National School Lunch Program. Private, non-profit Florida schools interested in participating in the National School Lunch Program should contact the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness for information about the program and to file an NSLP application.  A link is provided below.

Once approved for NSLP by FDACS, the school can apply to receive commodities. The commodity entitlement is based on the average daily number (ADP) of lunches served by the entity. Because commodities are ordered and allocated in the spring for the following school year, a school must have an agreement with FDACS by that time to fully benefit from the commodity program.

The variety of commodities schools can get from USDA depends on quantities available and market conditions. Starting in the spring, USDA offers commodities for the schools to choose from and requisition for the upcoming school year. Schools place their requisitions using the USDA’s Web Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system. The FDACS staff places the orders with the USDA on behalf of the schools based on those requisitions, total quantities requested and shipping periods available. Depending on the quantities requested, schools can choose to have their commodities delivered to their own or privately contracted warehouse or a state-contracted warehouse. In the case of some bulk items, commodities may be diverted to a processor to be made into a more user friendly or acceptable product.

Official Forms

Print Resources

Related Topics

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Contact Us About the School Lunch Program

Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness
Bureau of Food Distribution
407 South Calhoun Street
The Mayo Building, M39
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0800

Cathy Quick, Bureau Chief
(850) 617-7170
(850) 617-7171 Fax

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