WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 2012 – Today USDA announced the recipients of the first-ever round of Farm to School Grants. The awards span 68 projects in 37 States and the District of Columbia and total $4.5 million in funding.
“By increasing purchases of local farm products, schools provide lucrative market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, expand access to fresh foods for schoolchildren, and stimulate community economic development,” explains Helen Dombalis, NSAC Policy Associate. “The Farm to School Grants are a crucial step, and must be combined with legislation in the Farm Bill, in order to fully realize the economic potential of farm to school programs."
The Farm to School Grant Program provides competitive grants to schools, nonprofits, state and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to increase local food procurement for school meal programs and to expand educational agriculture and gardening activities. There are two types of awards: planning grants for doing the homework needed in advance of starting a farm to school program and implementation grants to start or advance an existing program. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) worked with the National Farm to School Network and other partners to win a total of $40 million in mandatory funding for the new program in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
You can learn more about the Farm to School Grant Program through the NSAC website.
For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com.