USDA Helps Schools Connect with Local Farmers and Ranchers
Nearly $5 Million in Grants Will Create Healthier School Meals and Support Local Farmers in 39 States This School Year
WASHINGTON– Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects spanning 39 states that support the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers through its Farm to School Program.
"Farm to school programs work—for schools, for producers, and for communities," said Secretary Vilsack. "By serving nutritious and locally grown foods, engaging students in hands-on lessons, and involving parents and community members, these programs provide children with a holistic experience that sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. With early results from our Farm to School Census indicating schools across the nation invested nearly $600 million in local products, farm to school also provides a significant and reliable market for local farmers and ranchers."
USDA's Farm to School Grants fund school districts, state and local agencies, tribal nations, agricultural producers, and non-profit organizations in their efforts to increase local foods served through child nutrition programs, teach children about food and agriculture through garden and classroom education, and develop schools' and farmers' capacities to participate in farm to school. Awards ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 are distributed in four different grant categories: Planning, Implementation, Support Service, and Training.
For the 2016 school year, grants will serve more than 5,211 schools and 2.9 million students, nearly 40 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.