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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program

Deadline: May 3, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP) aims to increase knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children. The primary goals of the FASLP are to:

  1. Increase capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within host organizations or entities and school cafeterias and in the classroom
  2. Complement and build on the efforts of the farm to school programs implemented under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act
  3. Complement efforts by the USDA and school food authorities to implement the school lunch programs established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the school breakfast program established under the Child Nutrition Act
  4. Carry out activities that advance the nutritional health of children and nutrition education in elementary schools and secondary schools
  5. Foster higher levels of community engagement and support the expansion of national service and volunteer opportunities

FASLP programs are intended to to bring together stakeholders from the distinct parts of the food system to increase the capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within host organizations or entities, such as school cafeterias and classrooms, while fostering higher levels of community engagement between farms and school systems. The initiative is part of a broader effort to not only increase access to school meals for low-income children, but also to dramatically improve their quality. The development of leadership skills, knowledge, and qualities are necessary to prepare students for agricultural and related careers in the private sector, government, and academia. Teaching applications must demonstrably incorporate a leadership development component to equip students with technical and leadership abilities upon graduation. Specific activities may include:

  1. Developing practical applications to increase understanding of leadership roles, including critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills; ethics and professionalism; and working in teams
  2. Connecting the academic classroom experiences with daily leadership roles and organizational activities
  3. Providing opportunities for mentoring and shadowing
  4. Organizing leadership academies, workshops, trainings, etc.

FASLP projects are intended to scale up or further develop existing farm to school initiatives and other food and agriculture experiential learning initiatives within a distinct area of communities and schools in a State or region. Applicants should also add to existing activities or include new activities such as training and technical assistance, evaluation activities, curriculum development, or incorporate farm to school strategies in trainings and professional opportunities along with working closely with agricultural producers in the local and regional areas.

Preference will be given to applicants that:

  • Hold a proven track record in carrying out the primary goals of the FASLP (detailed above)
  • Work in underserved rural and urban communities
  • Teach and engage children in experiential learning about agriculture, gardening, nutrition, cooking, and where food comes from
  • Facilitate a connection between elementary schools and secondary schools and agricultural producers in the local and regional area

All projects must involve underserved rural and or urban communities and facilitate a connection between elementary schools and secondary schools with agricultural producers in the local and regional area. See solicitation for examples of Food and agriculture service learning activities supported by FASLP grants.

Amount: $1,920,000 is available to make awards that range up to $225,000 for project periods of up to 2 years.

Eligibility: State agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations, foundations, or corporations; individuals; or any group consisting of two or more entities described in this paragraph.

Link: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/food-and-agriculture-service-learning-program

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