USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: FDPIR Connection, July 2019

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U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Foods from Farm to Plate

FDPIR Connection, July 2019

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Featured Food

Trade Mitigation Frozen Strawberries for FDPIR

The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is receiving a one-time distribution of frozen strawberries through the Trade Mitigation purchases.* The strawberries will be available in August for program sites to order out of the National Warehouses. The frozen strawberries are flash-frozen as soon as they are picked, locking in the vitamins and minerals to make them just as nutritious as fresh strawberries.

Banana Berry Muffins

A tasty recipe for moist Banana Berry Muffins utilizing frozen strawberries is featured in the “A Harvest of Recipes with USDA Foods” cookbook available in the FDPIR Sharing Gallery. This recipe book is a collection of delicious recipes adapted from regional and traditional ones submitted by tribal members alongside new ones USDA created. The muffin recipe includes other USDA Foods such as applesauce, whole wheat flour, and quick cooking oats. Try this fruity recipe and whole grain goodness!

*FDPIR participants will also be receiving frozen, cooked, minimally seasoned pulled pork through Trade Mitigation.

News & Notes

Shell Egg Pilot Expansion to 25 ITOs

This September, 25 Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) participating in FDPIR will be added to the pilot to distribute shell eggs as part of their monthly food package benefit. The pilot assesses the possibilities of transitioning from providing dried egg mix to fresh eggs throughout all distribution models in FDPIR.  This will offer a more versatile and desirable product for FDPIR households.  As a pilot participant, one dozen shell eggs replace the powdered egg mix participants receive each month. The addition of these 25 ITOs increased participation in the pilot to a total of 59 ITOs, which represents almost 58 percent of ITOs in FDPIR. Tribes use the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order/Receipt System (FFAVORS) to place orders for shell eggs to be delivered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (USDA DoD Fresh) produce vendor.

The 25 ITOs are Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Body, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Fond Du Lac Reservation Business Committee, Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, Blackfeet Nation, Shoshone Tribe, Ute Mountain Tribe of Indians, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association, Yerington Paiute Tribe, and the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

USDA will continue to evaluate and work jointly with DoD and participating ITOs to improve and plan for future expansion of the shell egg pilot.

USDA DoD Fresh Mailbox

fresh fruit in a refrigerator

To ensure the USDA DoD Fresh Program is delivered efficiently, effectively, and with integrity and a focus on customer service, we have a new email address dedicated to the USDA DoD Fresh Program. Please reach out to the USDA DoD Fresh Program Team at with any general questions.

For concerns regarding product received through the USDA DoD Fresh Program, ITOs should continue to first contact their designated Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) service representative for direct customer service, the produce vendor, and the appropriate Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Regional Office. If issues continue to be unresolved, please contact the USDA DoD Fresh Program Team using the new mailbox.

FDPIR Nutrition Paraprofessional Project Updates

The application deadline for the FDPIR Nutrition Paraprofessional Training Project was July 8, 2019. The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to select an eligible applicant to develop and deliver a pilot nutrition paraprofessional training project for FDPIR staff working at local program sites. The training tools and resources developed under this grant will support the efforts of FDPIR local staff in conducting nutrition education activities for FDPIR participants who receive USDA Foods.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has recruited reviewers with experience working with American Indian and Alaskan Native populations and the FDPIR food package to review eligible applications and select a candidate that can successfully achieve the desired outcomes. Eligible applicants will be from an accredited public or private academic institution of higher learning, a research or training institution, a nonprofit organization, or other organization that has successfully implemented training initiatives and has expertise working with American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.

This two-year project will focus on developing a nutrition training program designed to ensure FDPIR participants receive high-quality, relevant nutrition education and support on the nutritional quality of FDPIR foods, menu planning and meal preparation using USDA Foods, and storing foods safely. The nutrition paraprofessional training curriculum will also include follow-up training modules to ensure FDPIR staff keep their nutrition knowledge and skills current.

We expect to announce the selected applicant by September 2019.

Program Spotlight

Seneca Nation of Indians Food Distribution Program

Seneca Nation of Indians Food Distribution Program

As an innovative leader in the Shell Egg Pilot, the Seneca Nation of Indians Food Distribution Program (SNIFDP) in New York is excited to announce that in September 2019 they will be opening a new home for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), but with a different look: a grocery store distribution model for FDPIR participants to select their food package items.

To prepare for this transition, the SNIFDP team is currently conducting more outreach in the community and will allow prospective clients to visit the SNIFDP to gather more information about the program, talk with staff, and scope out the many exciting new products offered as part of the food package.

In addition, the SNIFDP is working on implementing a “Train the Trainer” program. They will be working collaboratively with the Seneca Nation Health Center dietitian who will train staff and clients on ways to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, using food package items, while highlighting the nutritional benefits.

Lastly, SNIFDP is going into their third year of having a community garden (pictured below) where they are growing strawberries, radishes, peas, beans, corn, carrots, sunflowers, and gourds. The fresh produce items are used in cooking demonstrations. 

By developing new projects to engage FDPIR participants and through nutrition education activities, the SNIFDP staff continue making strides toward having a positive impact on the health of the community. Thanks to the Food Distribution Program Director, James White, for sharing his program with us!

SNIFDP community garden

Out & About

United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska and National Warehouses

In April, USDA staff visited the Paris Brothers Warehouse in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Food Distribution center of the United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska in White Cloud, Kansas. The Paris Brothers Warehouse services the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Mountain Plains Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) participating in FDPIR.  USDA staff discussed warehouse operations with Paris Brothers staff and ideas for continued improvement in service delivery.

Visiting the United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska, was also a very informative trip. Learning about the operations of the Food Distribution center (pictured below) on a day-to-day basis, which includes warehousing, distribution, unloading incoming trucks, and certification, was valuable to the USDA staff members' understanding of the program and will improve our customer service. We also received positive feedback regarding items newly added to the FDPIR food package, such as the dried cranberries.

United Tribes of Kansas and Southeast Nebraska USDA Food Distribution Program

Conference Clips

The Fire Still Burns: NAFDPIR's 32nd Annual Conference

The National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR) welcomed its membership, Tribal Leaders, and USDA staff to participate in its 32nd  Annual Conference held in Pearl River, Mississippi, during the week of June 9, 2019. The conference, themed The Fire Still Burns, was hosted by the FNS Southwest and Southeast Regions. An exciting agenda provided NAFDPIR members with a variety of workshops for all FDPIR staff. Popular sessions included Team Building, Certification 101 and 2.0, Warehouse 101, Nutrition Education, and Civil Rights Training along with two general USDA sessions. During the conference, a Tribal Leaders Consultation Work Group was held with Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps and Tribal Leaders or their proxies in attendance.

Policy Corner

California Policy Change Took Effect June 1, 2019 for SSI/SSP Recipients

Prior to June 1, 2019, the state of California provided recipients of Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payments (SSI/SSP) an additional small food allotment with their benefits. This “SSI/SSP Cash-Out” was state-wide and made all recipients of SSI/SSP in the state of California ineligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or FDPIR. California has since passed Assembly Bill (AB) 1811, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2019 Human Services Omnibus Trailer Bill in California, and ended ineligibility to SNAP or FDPIR for SSI/SSP recipients.

Beginning June 1, 2019, SSI/SSP recipients in the state of California may now apply for FDPIR or SNAP and receive benefits provided all other eligibility criteria are met. This change in policy became effective June 1, 2019 and applies in the state of California only.

Technology Synopsis

AIS Resources and Release News

The website and resources for working with the Automated Inventory System (AIS) have been updated and reorganized to include highlights of recent changes, instructions and files for installing AIS and the latest updates, links to previous Release Notes, known issues and workarounds, and miscellaneous resources.

With the June 2019 release, users now have the ability to sort the Availability Report and FNS-152 Report.

AIS Sort Options

Other changes include fixes for the Remaining Shopping List, updates to the generic bar code reference, updates to 3 USDA Foods material codes or pack sizes,

  • 110960 – Macaroni and Cheese (updated material code)
  • 111006 Instant Nonfat Dry Milk (updated material code)
  • 111081 Smooth Peanut Butter (new pack size coming in FY 2020)

and the addition of 4 new USDA Foods: 

  • 110763 – Frozen Green Peas (to be offered at a future date)
  • 111052 Frozen Diced Carrots (to be offered at a future date)
  • 111980 – Pulled Pork (to be offered at a future date as part of Trade Mitigation)
  • 111120 Whole Unsweetened Strawberries (to be offered at a future date as part of Trade                     Mitigation)

Other changes included fixes for the Remaining Shopping List, new ability to sort the Availability Report and FNS-152 Report, and updates to the generic bar code reference.

In preparation for the next AIS release, version 09.2019, on August 28, 2019, ITOs and FNS Regional Offices will receive an email announcement of upcoming changes, recommended actions, and instructions for installing the latest release package.

If you have any questions or need assistance with AIS, please contact the WBSCM Service Desk at or call (877) 927-2648.

Introducing the Integrated Food Management System

USDA is developing an Integrated Food Management System (IFMS), a seamless and enhanced ordering experience for all users who manage food distribution. The first phase of this project will prepare the way to retire and replace the legacy Automated Inventory System (AIS) by consolidating business transactions into an easy-to-use cloud software platform.

Some of the new and enhanced capabilities of IFMS will include:

  • Automatic system upgrades
  • Automatic data back-up
  • Role-based user access
  • Point-and-click screen navigation and easy editing
  • Advanced search functionality
  • Audit history of what was changed, when, and by whom
  • Field for tribal affiliation for household
  • Tool to check for dual participation
  • Visibility into inventory and participation across multiple locations
  • Aggregated reporting (i.e., single FNS-152)
  • Ad hoc reports

IFMS development activities are expected to last until mid-2020. There will be regular monthly feedback checkpoints with the IFMS Advisory Committee and other subject-matter experts to ensure that development activities lead to a meaningful and practical solution to support FDPIR. 

IFMS User Feedback Cycle

The IFMS Advisory Committee includes members of the NAFDPIR Board as well as regional representatives, identified by the Board, who have knowledge and experience with AIS and FDPIR management and warehouse operations. In addition to providing feedback based on real-world operations and business processes, the IFMS Advisory Committee will also share information about IFMS and help prepare for deployment of the new system among the FDPIR community.

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