Calling All Schools and Farmers: Farm to School Funds Available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the new farm to school grant program designed to educate students on their food’s origin and also increase the availability of local, fresh foods in schools.

As the nation struggles with obesity and its associated diseases like Type 2 diabetes, Earth Day Network believes it is vital that investments in farm to school programs continue to grow nationwide. These efforts help eligible school communities improve the health and well-being of their students while simultaneously promoting local green jobs – something we understand firsthand given our work to implement a district-wide farm to school program in Washington, D.C.

Luckily, the Farm to School Grant Program is part of the landmark Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded the USDA to do just that: implement innovative farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in schools. The new investments will assist schools in procuring food from local producers in all 50 states. Furthermore, farm to school initiatives can also include agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.

Are you a teacher, administrator, parent, student, or community leader interested in bringing this program to YOUR school? Well, look no further. The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service plans to award up to $3.5 million to innovative farm to school programs across the country. Letters of Intent are suggested but not required by May 18, 2012, while proposals are due June 15, 2012. For more information, visit the USDA Farm to School website.

Keep up the fight for healthy food in schools, and good luck with the application!!!