USDA Announces Farm To School GrantThu 26 Apr 2012
Story by The Food Revolution Team
Last week the USDA released the Farm to School Grant Program designed to give children a better sense of where their food comes from and increase the availability of local foods in schools.
The Farm to School Grant Program Request for Application (RFA) 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 in eligible schools.
Starting this October 1, $5 million will be provided to the USDA on an annual basis to support grants, technical assistance, and the Federal administrative costs related to USDA’s farm to school program. In this first funding cycle, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), 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 additional farm to school grants.
Increase Locally Sourced Foods In Schools
These ‘Farm to School’ grants, administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods. They will also assist schools in obtaining food from local producers. Farm to school initiatives can also include agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.
Applying For Grants
Grant funds will be made available on a competitive basis, (subject to availability of Federal funds) and applicants are encouraged to first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) and then apply for either a Planning Grant or an Implementation Grant. LOIs are due May 18, with proposals due June 15. Awards will be announced and funds available after October 1st.
Planning grants are expected to range from $20,000 - $45,000 and represent approximately 25 percent of the Farm to School Grant Program total awards. Planning grants are intended to help organize and structure efforts only for schools and school districts that are just starting farm to school activities.
Implementation grants are expected to range from $65,000 - $100,000 and represent approximately 75 percent of the Farm to School Grant Program total awards. These grants are intended to further develop farm to school initiatives which already exist.
For both types of grants, applicants must provide at least 25 percent of the costs of the grant project as no more than 75 percent can be covered by the USDA – as outlined by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Visit the USDA’s Farm to School website to find out more about the program and how your school can apply.
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