USDA Farm to School grant request for applications announced

Submissions for Farm to School grant applications are due Dec. 8, 2016.

The Farm to School movement is growing rapidly across the U.S. and offers benefits for kids and farmers. Farm to School Programs can increase healthy local food options thereby improving children’s nutrition. When combined with education, the healthy eating message often extends beyond the cafeteria into family dining rooms. Purchasing from local farm families can also create new market opportunities for farmers, thereby facilitating rural and regional economic development. Because of the many benefits associated with Farm to School Programs, the USDA has offered competitive Farm to School grants since 2012.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service Office of Community Food Systems Farm to School Grant Program expects to award $5 million in FY 2017. Eligible applicants include school districts, tribal organizations, non-profits as well as state and local agencies. In 2017, there are four grant categories with differing eligibility, funding and guidelines: planning grants, implementation grants, support services grants and training grants. All grants require a 25 percent match regardless of the grant category.

More information on the 2017 Farm to School Grant, including frequently asked questions, sample applications, and the full application package can be found here. For interested applicants, the USDA will be offering an overview of the grant RFA on Sept. 29, 2016 at 1 p.m. eastern time. You can register for the webinar by clicking here.

More information on the benefits of farm to school can be found on the USDA Farm to School Census website. For more information and multiple resources on Farm to School in Michigan, visit the Michigan State University Center For Regional Food Systems website or this excellent Farm to School Factsheet.

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