USDA Accepting Proposals for Farm to School Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for the agency’s Farm to School grants, funds to help schools plan new farm-to-school programs or expand existing ones, according to a Feb. 6 press release from the agency.


The agency plans to award a total of $5 million in grants for 2014. Proposals are due at midnight ET on April 24.


The Farm to School program aims to support school districts across the U.S. in connecting school cafeterias with local farms that can provide fresh food for meals and teach children 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,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan in the press release. “USDA continues to make improvements to the nutrition of food offered in schools, and investing in farm to school programs is yet another important opportunity to encourage our nation’s kids to make lifelong healthy eating choices.”


Funds can be used for many aspects of farm-to-school programs, from training, planning and developing partnerships to buying equipment, planting school gardens and organizing field trips.


In addition to planning grants for schools starting programs or implementation grants for schools improving existing programs, USDA will also offer support services grants to eligible non-profits, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies and agricultural producers who want to conduct trainings or develop food supply chains.


The USDA will host the following webinars to help organizations plan their proposals and learn about the application process.

  • March 5, 1 p.m. ET: planning grants
  • March 6, 1 p.m. ET: implementation grants
  • March 7, 1 p.m. ET: support services grants


For more information on the grants and to see sample proposals, visit the USDA’s website.