During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in 2020, as many as 1 in 3 Washingtonians experienced food insecurity. Chances are you may know someone affected, or have been part of this statistic yourself. Since July of last year, WSDA stepped in and launched a program that has issued more than $82 million in contracts to provide emergency food resources to those people and their families.
In Washington, a federal
program benefited many families, farms, and food businesses until it
abruptly ended in early 2021. In response, WSDA launched the We Feed WA Pilot Food
Program in July 2021 to bring emergency food from Washington-based farms and
food businesses to socially disadvantaged people experiencing hunger.
The We Feed WA pilot is the
state alternative to the USDA
Farmers to Families Food Box Program that expired in May of 2021. This federally
funded pilot program is part of the state’s coordinated response to decrease food
insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 crisis and recovery period.
WSDA awarded more than $53 million this year to 21 hunger relief
organizations that provide emergency food for the people in our state that need
it most. We Feed WA helps hunger relief organizations that serve socially
disadvantaged communities continue their work through partnerships with local
and regional food producers, farmers and ranchers, processors and distributors.
recipients are providing goods and services across the state ranging from
providing food directly to hungry Washingtonians, to procurement and unique
distribution expertise, and technical assistance. There are five (5) award
- - Fresh Boxes ($22,124,850)
- - Emergency Boxes ($20,113,500)
- - Equity-Centered Household & Local Distribution ($2,681,800)
- - Supplemental Emergency Food Procurement, Logistics & Distribution ($8,045,400)
- - Technical Assistance ($670,450)
Each business and organization
have contracted and committed to working alongside WSDA, learning from this
pilot program and continuously assessing the needs and barriers that food
insecure Washingtonians and food enterprises face.
This program aims to
facilitate the procurement and distribution of emergency food across Washington
state to hunger relief organizations, including organizations that serve black,
indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and other socially disadvantaged
communities as directed by the Washington State Legislature while increasing
the vitality of regional farms and food businesses.
Current contract awards range
from $150,000 to more than $9 million. A diverse pool of Community Reviewers
determined awards based on application scores.
For more information, visit agr.wa.gov/about-wsda/we-feed-wa
or email email@example.com. The
pilot program is part of WSDA’s Focus on Food Initiative,
ensuring safe, nutritious, local food is effectively produced and available
throughout our state.