The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans to invest in farm to school programs across the nation to improve student health and increase market opportunities for producers and food-related businesses.
“School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and teach students where their food comes from,” said USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen 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.”
In the first funding cycle, USDA anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million in grants. The agency will be distributing planning and implementation grants. Planning grants, which will account for 25 percent of the funding, are intended for schools and school districts to develop Farm to School programs. Implementation grants will be used to strengthen and expand current Farm to School initiatives.
Those interested in applying for a grant should obtain a USDA Farm to School Grant Application. Proposals for funding are due by June 15, 2012.
Read more from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.