U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced this week that the USDA will invest in farm-to-school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and well-being 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,” she said.
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.
Farm-to-school initiatives can also include agriculture- and nutrition-education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.
These grants, administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally-sourced foods.
In this first cycle, $5 million will be provided to USDA to support grants, technical assistance, and Federal administrative costs.
Food and Nutrition Service 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 by June 15, 2012.
To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to Implementation grants at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, May 15 and a webinar related to Planning grants at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, May 17.
For more information on webinars, the farm-to-school grant program, or USDA’s farm-to-school efforts in general, please visit the USDA Farm to School website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK) of 2010 marks a great win for the nearly 32 million school children that participate in the National School Lunch and the 12 million school children that participate in the School Breakfast Programs each school day.
The USDA is working to implement historic reforms that will mark the most comprehensive change to food in schools in more than a generation, which include:
- updated school meals nutrition standards to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy;
- science-based standards for all foods and beverages sold on the school campus;
- performance-based funding increases for schools – the first real increase in 30 years;
- and training and technical assistance to help schools meet improved standards.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that, in addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and National School Lunch Program, also include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Summer Food Service Program. Taken together, these programs comprise America’s nutrition safety net.
Posted April 18, 2012
The Connecticut Farm to School program http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?A=2225&Q=299424
WK Kellogg Foundation Food & Community program grants http://www.foodandcommunity.org/What-We-Do/Grantee-Stories/National-Farm-to-School-Network-Improving-Health-of-Children.aspx
Editor’s note: We are currently making security improvements to our Web site, and you may sometimes receive a message that the site is temporarily unavailable. We thank you for being patient.
Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to email@example.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook