The Department of Agriculture announced Monday it will expand its Farm to School program with an additional $70 million in funding.

USDA will award $10 million in grants for 123 projects at more than 5,000 schools throughout the country. The department will also award $60 million to states in noncompetitive grants.

“The expansion of Farm to School is more important than ever for our kids,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “When schools and local producers work together, children benefit from higher-quality foods on their plates and program operators have stable sources for the products they need.” 

The Farm to School Program was created in 2013, with a series of grants awarded to over 1,000 projects throughout the U.S. The department said the program works to educate children on the origin of their foods and increases “the amount of locally produced foods served through child nutrition programs.” 

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In addition to money awarded through the Farm to School program, USDA announced Friday it will increase funding for school lunch programs. Beginning on July 1, the department will reimburse schools and day care providers approximately 68 cents per free or reduced-price lunch and 32 cents on free or reduced-price breakfast. 

Texas leads the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service’s estimated additional funding, gaining about $731 million from the announcement. California is projected to receive about $730 million.

USDA said the price increase reflects the required annual price adjustment for food costs and a jump in the Keep Kids Fed Act reimbursements.

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