USDA Talks to Grocers About the “Harvest Box”

Dan Industry News Release

The USDA public relations campaign surrounding the harvest box idea has gone before a group of the usdanation’s biggest grocery suppliers.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says they’re talking with grocers about their role in a proposal to replace some food stamp allocations with prepackaged boxes of groceries. Perdue told reporters last week that grocers are already adding the delivery service that the “Harvest Box” would require.

The proposal would represent one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. “We have some ideas on how the retailers could participate in this ideas,” Perdue says. “Rather than dismiss it out of hand, let’s discuss how it can be improved.” Perdue didn’t name any specific groups of retailers that USDA had contacted about the idea.

The Harvest Box idea would cut down on cash payments and substitute them with packages of food, including cereal, pasta, canned fruit, and meat. While the administration says the proposal would save $129 billion over ten years, it’s come under fire. The program would present logistical challenges as a distribution setup. The plan has also come under fire for stigmatizing the poor and returning U.S. social-service policies to Great Depression food handout programs.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.