Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that USDA will be investing in farm to school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.
"School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from," said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. "More and more, schools are connecting with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses each day and these programs are a great way to bring more local offerings into school cafeterias and support U.S. producers as well. As we struggle with obesity and associated diet related diseases, farm to school programs give us one important tool to help our kids make lifelong healthy eating choices."
Farm to School allows kids to learn more about where their food comes from and who produces that food. Some programs gives the students chances to sit down with farmers for lunch and talk about the food that they grow.
The Farm to School Grant Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. Farm to school initiatives can also include agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.
To fulfill the farm to school mandate in the HHFKA, effective October 1, 2012, $5 million will be provided to USDA on an annual basis to support grants, technical assistance, and the Federal administrative costs related to USDA's farm to school program. In this first funding cycle, FNS anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million in grants, while the remaining $1.5 million will support a combination of training and technical assistance, administrative costs, and/or additional farm to school grants.
Letters of Intent are suggested but not required by May 18, 2012, while proposals are due June 15, 2012.
Webinars to Learn More:
Two webinars will be offered so that grant applicants can learn more about this grant opportunity. To receive additional information about webinars, please be sure to register for the Farm to School Listserve.
*Tuesday, May 15th, 1:00 EST Implementation grants
*Thursday, May 17th, 1:00 EST Planning grants