U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today the award of more than $9 million in USDA Farm to School Program grants that will increase the amount of healthy, local foods served in schools and create economic opportunities for nearby farmers. This year marks an all-time high of funding and projects in the program, with grants supporting 126 selected projects across 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These projects are expected to serve more than 3.2 million students in over 5,400 schools.
This record-breaking year for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program was made possible by increased funding from Congress for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, which enabled USDA to award 52 more grants than the previous highest year of 2016 when 74 were granted. Grants range from $20,000 to $100,000 and fund equipment purchases and experiential learning activities, including planting school gardens, offering taste tests to children, and organizing field trips to local farms and food producers.
Farm to school activities strengthen local economies. USDA’s 2015 Farm to School Census found that in the 2013-2014 school year alone, schools purchased more than $789 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers. Schools provide producers stable markets and long-term revenues, and the program introduces students to agricultural career paths.
Since 2013, the USDA Farm to School Grant Program has offered annual grants to schools, school districts, nonprofits, state agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to plan, implement, or provide training on farm to school activities. FNS is committed to working with schools and agricultural partners to ensure healthy habits take root in early childhood.
Please visit the USDA FNS website for more information about Farm to School projects and grant awards: www.fns.usda.gov/cfs/grant-awards.
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