The Almond Alliance is thrilled to announce a significant development in child nutrition and domestic food assistance programs in the United States. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently took a proactive step to bolster these initiatives by securing approximately 30,307,200 lbs of almonds worth $78 million through an award solicitation for Section 32. This allocation for the fiscal year 2023 is specifically designed to provide nutritious almonds to support child nutrition and related food assistance programs and a commitment to support American Grown products.

“This substantial investment in almonds highlights the USDA’s commitment to enhancing child nutrition and domestic food assistance programs,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, President and CEO of the Almond Alliance. “Almonds are a versatile and highly nutritious food source, rich in essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Including almonds in these initiatives will contribute to the overall health and well-being of children and individuals who rely on food assistance programs.”

Earlier this year, the Almond Alliance wrote to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the USDA to use the appropriate purchase authority for the inclusion of almonds in these crucial initiatives. In collaboration with congressional leaders, these efforts have played a vital role in this achievement.

The process began with the USDA issuing Solicitation No. 2000009408 on June 15, 2023, inviting offers for the supply of almonds. The department received several offers from suppliers, which were meticulously evaluated to ensure the highest quality and value. The USDA finalized the purchase after a thorough assessment, securing a significant quantity of almonds for distribution.

Almond deliveries are scheduled to take place between August 15, 2023, and December 31, 2023, ensuring a timely and consistent supply of nutritious almonds to the targeted programs.

Bettencourt added, “The USDA’s efforts to secure this significant almond allocation is a commendable step towards improving the nutritional support provided to those in need as our industry recovers from the shock waves created by the global supply chain crisis. This development underscores the importance of collaborative efforts between government agencies, advocacy organizations, and the private sector in addressing food insecurity and promoting healthy eating habits among vulnerable populations.”

The impact of this initiative extends beyond the distribution of almonds alone. It signifies the recognition of the crucial role that nutritious food plays in the well-being and development of children, emphasizing the USDA’s commitment to ensuring access to quality food for all individuals, regardless of socioeconomic status.