USDA announces partnership with the Urban School Food Alliance

The new partnership will provide tools and resources to school nutrition programs to help them with procurement challenges.
Students eating in the cafeteria
The Urban School Food Alliance has joined forces with the USDA to provide procurement training and resources to school nutrition programs. | Photo: Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a partnership with the Urban School Food Alliance (USFA) to provide training and other resources to school nutrition programs to help them with procurement challenges. 

Made up of 17 of the largest school districts in the country, the USFA is a nonprofit group that aims to help districts provide high-quality student meals while keeping costs down.

Through the partnership, the USFA will develop new educational tools to teach schools best practices for purchasing food for school meal programs. It will also create an interactive bid template to help standardize procurement processes in school nutrition.

In addition, the USFA will organize an advisory group made up of school nutrition stakeholders. The group will be responsible for developing an action plan that will address current challenges with school food procurement through the creation of targeted training and resources. 

The USFA will begin working on these new initiatives at the start of next year. It will also share its existing procurement tools and trainings with districts immediately. 

"The Urban School Food Alliance appreciates the opportunity to work with USDA to improve the school food procurement process for all stakeholders,” Dr. Katie Wilson, executive director of the Urban School Food Alliance, said in a statement. “With procurement practices laying the foundation for obtaining fresh, healthy food served throughout our nation's schools, we look forward to developing and implementing new tools to push for a more efficient and sustainable food system that includes supporting local economies.”

The USDA has provided just under $3.1 billion to support school meal procurement efforts since December 2021, however, procurement challenges and rising costs continue to impact school nutrition programs as they recover from COVID-19. In a recent survey of school nutrition directors conducted by the School Nutrition Association, almost all respondents (99.8%) said that that rising costs are a challenge. 



More from our partners