Farm to School Grants Increase Local Foods to Eligible Schools

 

Release   No. 0024.14

Contact:

USDA Office of   Communications (202) 720-4623

USDA Announces Fiscal Year   2015 Farm to School Grants to Continue Efforts to Increase Local Foods in   Eligible Schools

National Program Continues   to Increase Access to Local Foods in Schools and Provide New Economic   Opportunities for a Variety of Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 19, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today   announced the release of a request for applications for the third round of   USDA’s Farm to School grants,   including the addition of a new funding track. These grants help eligible   schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with   local agricultural producers.

“Connecting American farmers and ranchers with the National School   Lunch Program provides schoolchildren with daily access to locally sourced, healthy   foods,” said Vilsack. “These Farm to School grants will help   schools respond to the growing demand for local foods and increase market   opportunities for many types of food producers.”

Three different kinds of grants will be available, as well as a separate   funding track to support trainings and events. Planning grants are intended   for schools just getting started on farm to school activities. Implementation   grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing   efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal   organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups   of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct   trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains,   among other activities. Proposals are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, April 30, 2014.

New in FY 2015, USDA funds will be made available to support meetings,   trainings, and events intended to strengthen farm to school supply chains or   provide technical assistance. The Training and Event funds range from $15,000   – $50,000. USDA expects to distribute approximately $500,000 in additional   funds to support at least one statewide or regional meeting in all seven FNS   regions and at least one national conference. Letters of Intent are due at   11:59 p.m. EST, April 2, 2014.

To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a   series of webinars related to the application process:

  • March 11, 2014, 1:00        EST – Planning Grants
  • March 12, 2014, 1:00        EST – Implementation Grants
  • March 13, 2014, 1:00        EST – Support Service Grants
  • March 14, 2014, 1:00        EST – Training and Event Funding Track

The Farm to School Grant Program is a cornerstone of USDA’s Know Your   Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work on   local and regional foods. The grant program was initiated by the Healthy,   Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), 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. The Act provides $5 million annually to support grants, technical   assistance, and the federal administrative costs related to USDA’s Farm to   School Program. In this funding cycle, USDA anticipates awarding up to $5   million in HHFKA grant funding and an additional $500,000 in program funds to   support training and events.

USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families   to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and   advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food. Data show that the   vast majority of schools around the country are successfully meeting the new meal standards.

  • Last month, USDA        awarded $11 million in grants to help schools purchase needed equipment        to make preparing and serving healthier meals easier and more efficient        for hardworking school food service professionals.
  • USDA awarded $5.6        million in grants in FY2013 to provide training and technical assistance        for child nutrition foodservice professionals and support stronger        school nutrition education programs, and plans to award additional        grants in FY 2014.
  • USDA’s MyPlate symbol        and the resources at ChooseMyPlate.gov
  • provide quick, easy        reference tools for teachers, parents, healthcare professionals and        communities. Schools across the country are using the MyPlate symbol to        enhance their nutrition education efforts.

Collectively, these policies and actions will help combat child hunger and   obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation’s children. This   is a top priority for the Obama Administration and is an important component   of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to combat the challenge   of childhood obesity.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of   discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office   of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.,   Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992   (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD)or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or   (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).