Samantha Doss


United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, America’s Harvest Box, commods, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, FDPIR, Indian Country, Native Americans, food insecurity


In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed replacing much of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with “America’s Harvest Box,” a program that would directly distribute a package of non-perishable food items to low-income families. The proposal was met with intense controversy. Many hunger advocates, grocery retailers, and former government officials spurned the idea, citing logistics challenges, nutrition concerns, and stigmatization associated with a direct distribution system. However, a few Indigenous advocates were quick to point out that a direct commodity distribution system has been in place in the United States for generations, often overlooked due to its singular audience: Native Americans living on reservations. Often colloquially referred to as “commods," the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is a commodity food program that directly distributes monthly packages of food to low-income Native Americans.