Farm-to-School Grants Available
Big Island schools are being encouraged to apply for federal grants as part of the USDA’s Farm to School program.
Every year, USDA awards up to $5 million in grants to help schools connect with local producers and teach kids where their food comes from.
“USDA’s Farm to School grants connect schools with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses, providing new economic opportunities to food producers and bringing healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a statement.
Three different kinds of grants are available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts.
Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities.
To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a series of webinars related to the application process:
- March 5, 8 a.m. (1 p.m. EST) – Planning Grants
- March 6, 8 a.m. (1 p.m. EST) – Implementation Grants
- March 7, 8 a.m. (1 p.m. EST) – Support Service Grants
Farm to School is one component of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) initiative, launched in 2009 to coordinate the Department’s work on local and regional food systems and create new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural communities.
An interactive view of USDA programs that support local and regional foods, including farm to school and farm to institution, is available in the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass.
Grant applications, which are for fiscal year 2014, are due April 24 by 7 p.m. HST (midnight EST). Pending availability of federal funds, the grants will be awarded in October.
For more information on the grant applications or the USDA Farm to School program, contact Dexter Kishida, national Farm to School Network state lead, Kokua Hawai’i Foundation, (808) 387-5347, or via email at [email protected].