Bureau of Food DistributionDivision of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
2006-2007 Overview of Activities
The Department administered or provided support through commodities and/or cash for a number of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs in Florida, including the National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program that provides commodities for distribution to the needy.
During fiscal year 2006-2007, approximately 200 agencies serving over 2,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other emergency feeding organizations throughout Florida, received over 83 million pounds of food valued at almost $56 million. As a result, almost 3 million people were reached on a daily basis, making Florida’s food distribution program the fourth-largest in the nation.
The Department is involved in the Food Recovery Program and other programs that endeavor to eliminate hunger and food insecurity in the state. This fiscal year, farmers donated over 11 million pounds of fresh produce for distribution to those in need. The Department produces the Food Recovery Resource Guide, which lists organizations involved in food recovery. The guide is available to the general public and to schools, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and other entities involved in the preparation of meals and/or the sale of food items.
WIC/Farmersí Market Nutritional Program
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Health jointly administer the WIC/Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. This U.S. Department of Agriculture program has two statutory objectives: to provide fresh produce to eligible women and children who are nutritionally at risk; and to help local farmers by expanding the awareness of, use of, and sales at local farmers’ markets. In 2006-2007, booklets totaling over $699,000 in $4 coupons were provided to over 34,900 eligible WIC clients in Alachua, Bay, Escambia, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Okaloosa, St. Johns, Santa Rosa, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Volusia, Walton, and Washington counties. The Department entered into agreements with 210 farmers authorizing them to participate in the program. Participants can redeem the coupons for the purchase of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables from authorized farmers at community farmers’ markets. WIC/FMNP is a very successful program that provides eligible WIC clients with fresh produce and participating farmers with new customers. As a result, both groups continue to enthusiastically support the program.
As the lead agency for Emergency Support Function (ESF) 11, the Department is responsible for acquiring food, water, and ice for disaster victims. In the event of a disaster, the Bureau of Food Distribution also provides USDA commodities to disaster relief organizations for the mass feeding of disaster victims. Water and ice are given out at various points of distribution throughout the affected area
In 2006-2007, Florida luckily experienced only two tropical storms, TS Alberto and TS Ernesto. The Department dispatched about 135 trucks of water and ice in response to these events.