Local Food Hubs Earn USDA Contract to Feed Those in Need
Thurston County EDC’s PTAC Program Helps Local Food Hubs Earn USDA Contract to Feed Those in Need
If you’ve ever waded through the process of filling out a government contract form or grant proposal, you know two things: a) they’re long and b) they’re complex. So when Hugh at Evergreen United Food Hub learned of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture program to purchase local farm products and distribute them to those in need, his joy was tempered by the fact that he had just one week to complete the paperwork.
The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program is purchasing up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products through national, regional and local suppliers that are packaged into family-sized food boxes and transported to food banks, community organizations and other nonprofit groups serving Americans in need. Local food hubs like Evergreen United were eligible to bid on the contract – if they could just figure out how.
Fortunately, help was at hand in the form of the Thurston Economic Development Council’s Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). PTAC is just one of many throughout the nation, all with the same mission. “We connect small business owners with government contracting opportunities,” says Kate Hoy, PTAC contracting specialist. “It can be any agency, any level of government and any kind of contract.”