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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Farm to School Grant Program

Deadline: December 8, 2017

The Farm to School Grant Program assists eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. Grants support a wide range of activities from training, planning, and developing partnerships to creating new menu items, establishing supply chains, offering taste tests to children, purchasing equipment, planting school gardens, and organizing field trips to agricultural operation. Types of grants include:

  • Planning grants: These grants are for entitites who are just getting started with farm to school activities. Planning grants should primarily focus on goals and objectives that lay a solid foundation for launching or scaling up farm to school work. Key activities for a planning grant proposal include, but are not limited to: collecting data; engaging stakeholders; identifying gaps in knowledge and resources; and pinpointing and developing solutions for obstacles that hinder farm to school programming for a particular community.
  • Implementation grants: These grants are intended to help entities to scale up or further develop existing farm to school initiatives. Applicants may focus on a relatively discrete set of schools as direct recipients of project activities, or may provide products and services that have national, regional, or statewide relevance and scope. As such, eligible activities may include: training and technical assistance; supply-chain development; evaluation activities; curriculum development; creation of promotional materials or campaigns; and formation of networks or coalitions; among other activities. In addition to these activities, state agencies are well-positioned to develop strategic plans and coordinate efforts among schools and with other states.
  • Training grants: These grants are intended for entities to conduct state, regional, and national-level trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains and/or increase trainees’ knowledge and capacity related to local procurement, food safety, school gardens, culinary education, and/or integration of agriculture‐based curricula. Applications that have a specific emphasis on developing supply chain relationships by connecting local producers to school food buyers will also be considered.

The following priorities are considered across all grant categories:

  • Applications from school districts (i.e. the school district is the lead applicant): schools or school districts will receive at least 50 percent of the overall number of planning and implementation awards
  • Applications from Indian Tribal Organizations and entities serving Native communities
  • Applications from state agencies (i.e. the state agency is the lead applicant)
  • Projects that reach more than one school
  • Projects that serve a high proportion of children (at least 40 percent or more) who are eligible for free or reduced price meals

Amount: A total of $5,000,000 is available to award 70 grants. Amounts vary by grant type:

  • Planning awards range from $20,000–$50,000 for an award period of 12 or 24 months
  • Implementation and Support Service awards range from $50,000–$100,000 for an award period of 12 or 24 months
  • Training awards range from $20,000–$50,000 for 12 months

Matching funds of 25% are required for all four grant types.

Eligibility: Eligibility varies by grant type:

  • Planning and Implementation Grants: Schools that include PreK-12 School Finance Authorities (SFAs), nonprofit private schools, charter schools, Indian tribal schools, and others that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs; state and local agencies; Indian tribal organizations; agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers; and nonprofit entities.
  • Training Grants: State and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities.

Link: https://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/fy18-farm-school-grant

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