Skip to main content


Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

School Food Service Directors/Managers
Frances N. O'Donnell, Coordinator
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Geographic Preference Option for the Procurement of Unprocessed Agricultural Products in Child Nutrition Programs

The 2008 Farm Bill amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to direct that the Secretary of Agriculture encourage institutions operating Child Nutrition Programs to purchase unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products.

Provisions of the law effective October 1, 2008 were initially implemented through policy memoranda and explanatory question and answer communications. A proposed rule was published April 19, 2010; USDA received 77 comments which were reviewed before they issued their final rule on this subject on April 22, 2011.

The proposed rule was minimally modified to expand the definition of allowable products that are included in the definition of "unprocessed agricultural products." Items included in the definition had to:

  1. comply with the language and reflect the intent of the statute;
  2. ensure that any processing of agricultural products results in only minimal value added to such products; and
  3. facilitate ease of use of such products for institutions.

While institutions participating in the Child Nutrition Programs may determine the geographic area for proposals or bids in response to a solicitation, a geographic preference does not guarantee bidders in the geographic area a certain level or percentage of business. It also does not preclude a bidder from outside the specific geographic area for competing for, and possibly being awarded the contract. Rather it is a tool that gives bidders in a specified geographic area, a specific, defined advantage in the procurement process if all other specifications met are equal.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.