We've seen a great interest from customers in Farm to School programs. They are a great way to support local economy and nutrition and get kids interested in nutrition and healthy choices. The USDA recently announced a grant program to support Farm to School programs...
On February 19, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of federal funds for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Farm to School Grant Program. See the press release here.
FY 2015 Request for Applications (pdf)
FY 2015 Request for Applications (doc)
The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. New in FY 2015, USDA will make approximately an additional $500,000 available to eligible entities to support conferences, trainings, and events focused on farm to school program development. In this funding round, USDA is soliciting applications for four types of grants:
- Planning grants are intended for school districts or schools just starting to incorporate farm to school program elements into their operations.
- Implementation grants are intended for school districts or schools to help scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.
- Support Service grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with school districts or schools to further develop existing farm to school initiatives and to provide broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.
Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 30, 2014. A 25% cash or in-kind match of the total project cost is required.
- Conference/Event grants are open to all interested parties. They are intended to support conferences, events and trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or conferences, events and trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education and integration of agriculture‐based curriculum.
Letters of Intent for Conference/Event grants are due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 2, 2014.
Important Dates and Deadlines
- February 19, 2014: Request for Applications Released
- April 2, 2014: Conference/Event Letters of Intent due via email (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
- April 30, 2014: Planning, Implementation, and Support service proposals due via grants.gov (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
- November 2014: Awards Announced and Funds Available (pending the availability of federal funds)