Food Distribution Program

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) manages the Food Distribution Program (FDP). The FDP distributes U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods to Minnesota sponsors (schools) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and/or the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The program provides nutritious foods to school-age children attending public and private schools, residential child care institutions, juvenile correctional institutions, boarding schools and summer camps. FDP offers USDA Foods to participating sponsors through preference surveys twice a year, in the spring and fall. MDE-FNS surveys sponsors to determine demand and orders and coordinates the distribution of USDA Foods to sponsors.

Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System: MDE-FNS manages the FDP through the Cyber Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System 1 (CLiCS 1). FDP utilizes CLiCS 1 to collect order preferences from sponsors and then aggregates the amounts to base purchase quantities of the USDA Foods. The system allows sponsors to survey, track and release rebate claims.

USDA Foods Entitlement: The goal of the Minnesota FDP is to enable sponsors to effectively and efficiently utilize their USDA Foods Entitlement. USDA Foods Entitlement is calculated by multiplying the total number of reimbursable meals served during the previous school year by the value of donated food each school year. In order to utilize Minnesota’s annual USDA Foods Entitlement, a variety of foods are offered, purchased and delivered to Minnesota sponsors. MDE-FNS is responsible for allocating entitlement to all of the sponsors participating in FDP.

USDA Foods Available: Minnesota offers a wide variety of entitlement foods to sponsors from a list of products including frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, meats (beef, pork, and poultry), fruit juices, vegetable oil, peanut products, rice, cheese, pasta, flour and other grain products. 

Once the USDA Foods entitlement has been allocated, MDE-FNS enables sponsors to receive their USDA Foods Entitlement and/or Bonus USDA Foods by utilizing one or more of our food distribution models. Minnesota offers four distinct demand-driven food distribution models. There are no limitations to the distribution models a sponsor chooses to utilize USDA Foods Entitlement.

Regular USDA Foods: FDP offers more than 75 dry, canned, and frozen USDA Foods. Foods available include, but not limited to; meat, cheese, produce, flour, and pasta. Sponsors can survey twice a year for USDA Foods for delivery throughout the school year.
Fee-For-Service: Sponsors can divert beef and pork to USDA approved processors. The intent is to convert a specific USDA Foods into more usable end products for school menus. Sponsors are responsible for the “fee-for-service” and any shipping fees incurred.
Minnesota Rebate Program: This distribution model offers a cash rebate to sponsors through a state-administered rebate system. In this model, sponsors are able to utilize their USDA Foods entitlement with approved commercial foodservice products available through their foodservice distributors.
Department of Defense Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program: DoD Fresh allows for the distribution of a wide variety of domestically-grown fresh produce directly to schools. Sponsors survey for the amount of entitlement that they would like allocate to the program. FDP will transfer the entitlement to the Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Order Receipting System (FFAVORS). Orders are placed in FFAVORS and are delivered through the program’s contracted vendor.

Program Regulations
Current Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for this program are available on the U.S. Government Printing Office website:

  • School Year 2014-2015 Fall Survey Packet  - 9/17/14
    Includes Fall Preference Survey information, rebate products and USDA Foods descriptions.
  • School Year 2014-2015 Spring Survey Packet  - 3/14/14
    The Spring Survey Packet is to be used by sponsors for planning. It contains information on the surveys, approved industry partners with contact information, and additional general information.
  • Listserv Subscribe/Unsubscribe Form  - 4/11/12
    E-mail listservs are used to communicate important and late-breaking program information to customers. Complete and submit form to be included on FNS listservs for indicated Child Nutrition Programs.