USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: FDPIR Connection, March 2018

USDA Foods - FDPIR Connection

Resource Roundup

FDPNE Grant Application Now Open

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is pleased to announce that the Request for Applications (RFA) for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Nutrition Education (FDPNE) grant has now been posted to The FDPNE grant funds projects that provide nutrition information and services to Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) participants, helping the organizations that serve this population find new ways to aid their constituents. Indian Tribal Organizations and State agencies that are current FDPIR allowance holders (have a direct agreement with FNS to administer FDPIR) are eligible to apply. You can read about projects funded last year here.

For FY 2018, FNS has revised and updated the RFA and application, so all applicants are encouraged to read the document closely for any information that might have changed from previous years. To see the RFA itself, you can view the grant opportunity web page by following this link. On that page, you can also find supplemental documents, such as a sample budget narrative, sample project timeline, and match calculator to help you apply.

Interested in learning more? FNS hosted a webinar on February 27. If you were unable to attend, you can view the recording here.

New FDPIR Infographics and Nutrition Education Brochure

New FDPIR Nutrition Education Brochure

USDA is delighted to share new materials for FDPIR! A new brochure, "Staying Healthy, Staying Active Through Nutrition Education" (pictured to the right), showcases the variety of hands-on, instructional, and physical activities offered at FDPIR local sites and provides ideas for additional partnering and funding opportunities. Copies of the brochure were mailed to all FDPIR Indian Tribal Organizations in December 2017, and the brochure is now also available electronically in the FDPIR Sharing Gallery's Digital Resources section.

A set of three new infographics tells the story of FDPIR by highlighting key data points related to household composition (pictured below), healthy foods, and nutrition education. If you've ever wondered how many FDPIR households include children or elderly members, how the FDPIR food package compares to the average American diet, or how nutrition education is changing the ways program participants cook and eat, visit the Sharing Gallery to learn all this and more!

FDPIR Household Composition Infographic

Policy Corner

As of March 1, programs administering FDPIR are able to order bakery mix in a 20 oz. bag. This change provides a smaller pack size product and changes the distribution frequency of bakery mix to one 20 oz. bag per person per month. Also starting March 1, programs administering FDPIR are able to order applesauce in a 6-cup sleeve with the canned product being phased out. The cups are 4 oz. each. A revised FDPIR Monthly Distribution Guide Rates by Household Size document with an effective date of March 1, 2018, reflecting these changes has been released and posted to the FDPIR website.

Bakery Mix and Applesauce Cups

The new 20 oz. bakery mix (left) and the new 6-cup sleeve of applesauce (right) are now available for FDPIR programs to order.

Featured Food

Applesauce is now available in a convenient new form! As noted in the Policy Corner article above, FDPIR programs are now able to order applesauce in a new package with six 4-oz. cups of applesauce to replace the canned item. The product inside is the same as the can, but the packaging now offers convenient, individually portioned servings great for breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Unsweetened applesauce can be served as a healthy dessert, sprinkled with cinnamon, or used as a topping for pork chops, pancakes, or oatmeal.

News & Notes

The FDPIR Foods Available List is Getting a Makeover!

Each year, USDA publishes a list of the foods expected to be available through USDA Foods. This year, the list is taking on a new, colorful look that will also provide programs with information about how each food offered can help participants to meet the dietary recommendations based on MyPlate. USDA recently launched the new version of the Foods Available List for FDPIR that highlights the variety of nutritious foods available through the program and how these foods contribute to a healthy diet. For example, the whole grain labels can help programs to offer a variety of grains and encourage participants to select both whole grain and enriched grain options. If you have questions or feedback about the new look or the information provided, please contact us at

FDPIR Foods Available List

Refining Our Grain Approach – The Year Ahead

During the annual FDPIR Food Package Review Strategic Planning Meeting held November 29-30, 2017, Work Group members participated in a presentation by Desiree Jackson, a nutritionist representing the Western Region. Ms. Jackson provided a “through the years” look at improvements made in the FDPIR food package, from adding frozen beef 30 years ago to decreasing sodium and sugar, adding more whole grain options, introducing fresh produce, and, recently, providing a selection of traditional foods. Of importance, the presentation noted how the FDPIR food package scored a 73 out of 100 under the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), a tool designed to assess diet quality in terms of how well diets comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Additionally, the HEI captures balance among food groups and can also be used to assess the quality of any group of foods. Ms. Jackson’s presentation noted the high scores received in FDPIR food groups and an area of improvement in refined grains.

Work Group members agreed to work together this year and review opportunities for potentially making modest adjustments to grain categories while increasing vegetable guide rates. During the November meeting, Work Group members also discussed other priority food items such as traditional foods, including adding catfish, and taste-tested frozen options for blueberries, carrots, and peas, all received with favorable results. Work Group members are excited for the year ahead and continuing the discussion throughout the year, including at our next face-to-face meeting at the 2018 National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR) annual conference, in Reno, Nevada, in June.

FDPIR Food Package Review Work Group

Attendees of the annual FDPIR Food Package Review Strategic Planning Meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, in November 2017

Government-to-Government Discussions Continue at USDA

On February 15, 2018, Tribal leaders and representatives from more than ten Nations came together for a formal consultation between Tribal Governments and USDA. The consultation meeting, organized under the National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR) as the Tribal Leaders Working Group, centered around FDPIR. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Administrator and Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps participated in the meeting as the consulting official and dialogued government-to-government on important issues facing the FDPIR community. Main topics covered included traditional foods, nutrition education, upgrades to technology systems, and general discussion on USDA vendors, funding, and the Farm Bill. Tribal leaders expressed interest in continuing to dialogue and extended an invitation to look at additional dates to meet again.

Tribal Leaders Consultation

Tribal Leaders Consultation on USDA's Whitten Patio in Washington, DC, in February 2018

Update: FDPIR Nutrition Paraprofessional Training Assessment Project

The Office of Management and Budget recently provided approval to collect data for the FDPIR Nutrition Paraprofessional Training Assessment Project. The project will help USDA learn more about the nutrition education training needs of FDPIR local agency staff. In general, nutrition paraprofessionals are persons who do not have formal nutrition education, training, or licensure obtained from a college or university. For FDPIR, USDA is considering the development of a project that offers culturally relevant nutrition training, conducted by a Registered Dietitian, that prepares a staff person to provide basic nutrition information to participants.

USDA has moved forward with our research partners, 2M Research Services, LLC and Mathematica Policy Research, to complete the tasks needed to schedule and conduct telephone interviews with FDPIR local agency staff and other stakeholders. The information obtained will contribute valuable input regarding the need for such a project, the topics staff would like to learn about, and how the training should be delivered. 

Interviews are taking place currently and are expected to be completed by mid-March 2018. We encourage FDPIR local agency staff to respond if you received an e-mail invitation to participate from 2M Research Services, LLC.  

Program Spotlight

Bay Mills Plans Community-Based Nutrition Education

The Bay Mills FDPIR program in Michigan will embark on a community-based nutrition plan this year in partnership with the Bay Mills Wiisinida M’no community coalition. Administrative nutrition education funding will be used to conduct a wide variety of activities to support food sovereignty and nutrition education. The project will begin with a Michigan State University Master Canner teaching a series of food preservation workshops focusing on traditional foods, such as fish and venison. Participants will also receive a food preservation guide book. The coalition will also host a workshop where raised beds will be built on the Waishkey Bay Farm college farm and at the FDPIR warehouse site to teach and engage FDPIR members in growing herbs and vegetables. The partnership with the farm will provide additional space for raised bed activities, along with the expertise of the farm staff. Lastly, three six-week Cooking Matters courses will be offered throughout the year to teach clients how to prepare food in a healthy manner and to make nutritious choices. Participants will also receive a cookbook.

These activities will be promoted to FDPIR clients by providing information at the FDPIR warehouse, sharing information through social media platforms, and utilizing the Bay Mills email directory. Partners of the Bay Mills Wiisinida M’no community coalition include the Bay Mills Community College’s Waishkey Bay Farm, Bay Mills Health Center’s Bemidji Area Leaders Acting for Change (BALAC) and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), Michigan State University Extension’s Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP), and Bay Mills FDPIR program.

Bay Mills Distribution Center

Lummi Nation FDPIR Completes FY 2016 Infrastructure Award Project


Lummi Nation FDPIR in Washington took full advantage of an FY 2016 Infrastructure Award that USDA made available to FDPIR grantees. Lummi paved its parking lot to provide better access for participants coming to pick up food, replaced an aging forklift, purchased a new vehicle to expand home delivery services, and remodeled its well-used kitchen!

Lummi FDPIR is pleased to announce that the kitchen remodel project is complete and in full operation. The kitchen went through a very thorough renovation. The electrical system was upgraded to prevent blowing circuits and to ensure the kitchen was safe. The dishwasher, stove, and the hood were replaced with commercial grade appliances. An ice maker was installed to help maintain ice baths when conducting cooking demos and serving food at special events.

Lummi's new kitchen

Staff from Lummi FDPIR and the Lummi Health Clinic have been utilizing the kitchen weekly to demonstrate recipes for FDPIR clients and provide nutrition education. Successful events have included how to incorporate more fresh produce into recipes and safely can sockeye salmon and delicious fruit jams. The classes have been very popular, especially with young families who are excited to learn how to preserve food for the winter months.

Elaine Lane, Lummi Commodity Program Director, shared that the Lummi Health Clinic assisted with funding for the kitchen remodel because they have clients in common and by working together…"We can make a difference!" Congratulations to Elaine and all the Lummi FDPIR staff!

Canned Sockeye Salmon

Lummi FDPIR staff and clients canned sockeye salmon; pictured above is the result of one day's work!

Julianne Jones, Lummi FDPNE Coordinator, and Monica Sullier, Lummi Clinical Dietitian

Julianne Jones, Lummi FDPNE Coordinator, demonstrates how to make Pico de Gallo Dip (left) and Monica Sullier, Lummi Clinical Dietitian, conducts a cooking demonstration (right).

Complaint Resolution Pipeline

In the USDA DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, vendors are required to offer U.S. grown, U.S. No. 1 or better fresh fruits and vegetables. This requirement is verified through Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Produce Quality Audits. Fresh fruits and vegetables are inspected to ensure customers are receiving safe produce of an optimum quality level. Weekly, vendors upload a catalog of allowable FDPIR produce items so Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) are able to order fresh in-season produce as part of their monthly food package benefit. It is the ITO’s responsibility to inspect each delivery as it is being unloaded to ensure the overall quality and condition of the items. At the time of delivery, staff must examine the quality of the produce to check for condition defects. Condition defects are bruising, sunken discolored areas, shriveling, surface discoloration, and decay. These defects will worsen over time. Cartons should be opened to check produce quality and condition. Each layer of product on the pallet should be randomly checked, not just the top layer cartons. When inspecting a case of produce, no more than 10% of the case may fail to meet the requirements, including not more than 2% that are affected by mold or decay. For example, if you have a case of 100 apples, 10 apples are allowed to have defects. However, only 2 apples are allowed to have mold or decay. It is important to train staff on how to properly accept and inspect produce. Take time to walk around pallets, open cases, and, if needed, open internal packaging to examine produce. After a thorough inspection, staff should reject poor quality product.

ITOs should note all issues such as shortages/overages, condition of delivery upon arrival, the wrong products delivered, and detailed product quality issues prior to acceptance on the signed delivery receipt. Please make copies of this documentation for your records. Pictures of the cases and product are very helpful to DLA and the vendor. Notify the DLA representative within one business day of delivery of any quality or condition defects discovered after acceptance of the order. DLA representatives provide direct customer service to customers. They are the direct contact between DLA contracting and the vendor. All vendor performance issues are handled by DLA contracting officers to ensure the vendors are fulfilling the terms of their contract. Product complaints are sent to DLA contracting for vendor performance files and follow-up action, as needed. This feedback is important when contracts are being re-solicited.

USDA DoD Fresh Complaint Process: ITOs are to report issues with produce received through the USDA DoD Fresh Program concerning produce quality, condition, and delivery to the appropriate DLA Service Representative, the vendor, and the appropriate FNS Regional Office staff. 

If issues are reported and not resolved, please contact the USDA Complaints Team at 800-446-6991. We will work with DoD to resolve the issue. We welcome your feedback on produce received through the USDA DoD Fresh Program.

For more information on "The Basics" of the USDA DoD Fresh Program in FDPIR, please view our webinar, available on YouTube here.

USDA Foods Complaint Hotline Email:

The Complaint Team is available Monday-Friday, 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Technology Synopsis

New “My Profile” Available in FFAVORS

With the January 2018 release for the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order/Receipt System (FFAVORS), a new My Profile link has been added to the main menu. This will allow all users to review and update their own contact information to ensure they receive communications related to system updates, orders, and any questions or requests for assistance submitted through the FFAVORS application.

My Profile is located at the bottom of the menu on the FFAVORS home page for both Customers and Vendors:

FFAVORS My Profile link

Vendors can make updates to their email address.

FFAVORS Vendor My Profile example

Customers can edit their email address as well as phone number, extension, and fax number. 

FFAVORS Tribal Customer My Profile example

Additionally, Customers can opt-in to receive email notification for new USDA DoD Fresh orders or modifications to existing orders to be delivered to their organization. The first option will notify the user when they create or modify orders in FFAVORS. The second option will notify the user when other users from their tribe or from the Defense Logistics Agency create or modify orders.

Please contact the FFAVORS Help Desk with any questions.

On the Horizon

USDA staff will be participating in these upcoming meetings in 2018. We look forward to the opportunity to meet you and hope to see you there!

March 13-14: Midwest Region FDPIR Nutrition Advisory Committee Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

March 19-22: Western Region FDPIR Meeting and Nutrition Education Symposium in Rhonert Park, California.

June 11-15: National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR) Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada.

How to Sign Up for the USDA Foods E-Letter


1. Click here. Or you can go to the Food Distribution website and click on the red envelope on the row of social media icons on the top right of the page.

2. Enter your email address and click "Submit."

3. Check the boxes to select your topic(s) of interest. For these e-letters, scroll down to the Food Distribution category and click the plus sign to the left of the check box to expand the list and view all the topics. Select any of these topics to receive the general e-letter plus the corresponding program-specific e-letter(s) of your choice:

*USDA Foods --> receive all "USDA Foods from Farm to Plate" e-letters

*Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) --> receive "Household Highlights"

*The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) --> receive "Household Highlights"

*Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) --> receive "FDPIR Connection"

*Schools/Child Nutrition Commodity Programs --> receive "Spotlight on Schools"

4. Visit the subscriber preferences page any time you would like to review, add, or delete subscriptions. Questions? Contact

5. Share the e-letter and new subscriber link with interested colleagues and friends!