U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program
The primary goals of the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP) are to:
- Increase capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within host organizations or entities and school cafeterias and in the classroom
- Complement and build on the efforts of the farm to school programs
- Complement efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and school food authorities to implement school lunch programs and the school breakfast programs
- Carry out activities that advance the nutritional health of children and nutrition education in elementary schools and secondary schools
- Foster higher levels of community engagement and support the expansion of national service and volunteer opportunities
FASLP is intended to increase the knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children and 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.
Applications are being accepted for FASLP under the Food and Agriculture Service Implementation Project (FASIP). FASIPs are intended for applicants 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 who submit projects 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
Activities supported by implementation grants may include, but are not limited to:
- Expanding farm to school programs beyond lunch to bring local or regional products into the School Breakfast program
- Operating service projects (e.g., AmeriCorps, VISTA, FoodCorps, local service corps programs) that support farm to school initiatives in schools
- Readying producers to participate in the school food market by providing training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and other food safety-related topics
- Providing technical support in the form of face-to-face trainings, consultations, webinars, etc.
- Developing promotional campaigns in support of farm to school initiatives
- Expanding strategic planning efforts to expand or coordinate efforts across multiple districts
- Conducting farm to school evaluation efforts
- Establishing new or strengthening existing community partnerships (e.g. working with personnel to identify appropriate suppliers, etc.)
- Encouraging increased consumption of fruits and vegetables th rough promotional activities, taste tests, and other activities
- Expanding experiential or agriculture-based learning opportunities, such as the creation of school gardens, support to ag/food clubs, or increased exposure to on-farm activities
- Developing and evaluating integrated curriculum to reinforce food and nutrition-based learning throughout the school environment
Amount: A total of $960,000 is available to make awards that range up to $225,000.
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 2 or more entities described in this paragraph.
Applicants must also meet the following requirements: (1) have experience in the area of: (i) community food work, including the provision of food to people in low-income communities, including farm to school programs, and the development of new markets in low-income communities working closely with agricultural producers; (ii) job training and business development activities, curriculum and development for food-related school activities in low-income communities; or (iii) efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating school services and programs; (iv) applicants must show evidence of existing community support and engagement with school districts and agricultural producers via no less than three letters of support; (2) demonstrate competency to implement a project, conduct an evaluation, provide fiscal accountability, collect data, and prepare reports and other necessary documentation; (3) demonstrate competency in the implementation of a food and agriculture and/or school service learning program (4) demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators, practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan for dissemination of results; and (5) collaborate with one or more local partner organizations to achieve at least one hunger-free communities goal.
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