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Food and Nutrition Programs

Northeast Food for Schools Funding Opportunity

To:School Food Authorities
From:Robert Leshin, Director
Office for Food and Nutrition Programs
Date:February 10, 2023

Northeast Food for Schools is a funding opportunity available through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs (FNP) in partnership with Massachusetts Farm to School (MFTS). This opportunity has proposed to increase the capacity for School Food Authorities (SFAs) administering the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to procure local unprocessed or minimally processed foods for service in school meals and snacks. Through this opportunity, funds will be awarded to SFAs to purchase from producers, including but not limited to farmers, food hubs, and fishermen, within a 400-mile radius. Concerted efforts will be made to highlight the opportunities made available through non-traditional providers of locally grown products like Food Hubs to create new procurement relationships with socially disadvantaged farmers and small businesses. Technical assistance will be made available to SFAs and local producers to better understand how to identify interested purchasers/suppliers of local foods, the steps involved in issuing/responding to a compliant Massachusetts procurement process and highlighting the value of local food in school meals. Specifically, a Massachusetts informal bid sample developed to aid in the expenditure of these funds is now available. The goal of this initiative is to expand the capacity for procuring/providing local foods to schools, strengthening local food systems, and improving meal quality for children of the Commonwealth.

Eligible to request:

  • Any SFA operating NSLP in school year 2022/2023 is eligible to request funds.

Funding awards:

  • SFAs may apply for up to $100,000 in funds. Funds will be awarded based on level of interest, availability of funds, size of the meal program, and SFA's self-assessed capacity to complete compliant Federal and Massachusetts procurement process.

Procurement Procedures:
Assessing your SFA's administrative capacity for procurement and data reporting is essential prior to requesting funds. A summary of the requirements for each purchase level is as follows:

  • $10,000 or less: Micro-Purchase Steps:
    • Contact a vendor, determine a reasonable price and retain documentation
    • Distribute micro-purchase equitably among qualified suppliers
  • $10,001 – $100,000: Small Purchase Steps *Sample will be provided*
    • Draft specifications, terms and conditions in writing
    • Identify and gather two or more quotes from qualified suppliers
    • Evaluate quotes
    • Make purchase and retain documentation
    • Monitor contract

Technical Assistance available to support procurement process:

  • FNP and MFTS want to ensure that districts have access to the support needed to maximize the benefit of these funds. A procurement specific support plan is under development and in the interest survey below asks for feedback on what interested districts need.
  • Sample Small Purchase Template: FNP in partnership with MFTS has developed a sample small purchase template specifically for this funding opportunity. See attached, this sample is designed to be downloaded, updated with information specific to the SFA, the product(s) desired and can be used in whole or in part.

Data Collection & Reporting

  • Award recipients will be required to report on volume and value of food purchased. In addition, they will be asked to identify vendors utilized and potentially vendor contact information.

All NSLP sponsors:

If you have questions about the requirement or process to request funds through this opportunity, please contact .

This institution is an equal opportunity provider

Last Updated: February 10, 2023

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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