Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

Farm to School Grants: How Do They Help?



Article author photo. Lauren Larson, MS, BS This featured post is by Pam Dannon, EdM, RD.

Just as seed catalogs are arriving in the mail at home, and family gardeners get motivated about the upcoming growing season, school divisions in 42 states will be excitedly preparing to use their generous USDA Farm to School (F2S) grant dollars. Connecting school cafeterias to local agriculture, USDA has awarded up to $5 million to 71 projects in this, the second year of the program. Both planning and implementation grants were offered to schools, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profits working with schools.

By growing the demand for locally sourced foods, the F2S grants will reach broader goals of creating new market opportunities for local farmers, ranchers, producers and food businesses, building a more thriving agriculture sector and generating new jobs in rural areas.

USDA's Farm to School Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which funded grants and technical assistance to help schools gain better access to local foods. Local food systems are also supported by USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative (KYF2). These government-funded programs, along with My Plate and training grants for school nutrition professionals, have the potential to increase the health and nutrition of America’s school children.

A key part of F2S grant applications was defining specific nutrition education plans. For many grant recipients, these included food tastings, field trips to farms, cooking classes, and using school gardens as not only a source of produce for school cafeterias but also for nutrition and agriculture education. Many grantees addressed the agriculture literacy gap that exists in today’s school-aged children.

Some examples of innovative F2S-funded programs include:

In Connecticut, grant funds will be used to develop an electronic purchasing portal to facilitate farm-to-school purchases in the county.

In Georgia, the grant will help implement a “Feed My School for a Week” program, serving 75-100 percent Georgia-grown lunches for five consecutive days, and will include education about where the food comes from and its nutritional value, farm field trips and agriculture field days, fresh produce taste testing and agriculture art and essay contests.

In Montana, the funds will help start an animal husbandry project that will involve students in raising animals that will be processed and used in the school cafeterias. Grants will also go toward remodeling a greenhouse as space for an aquaponics program that will be used to grow produce. Finally, F2S funds will help hire a Farmer Educator to oversee the programs.

Successful grant applicants had vibrant partnerships with local businesses, foundations, universities, extension agencies and others, especially nutrition educators. Take a look at the list of USDA Farm to School FY 2014 Grant Awards and see how you can get involved in supporting farm to school efforts for our children.

Pam Dannon, EdM, RD, works in Child Nutrition Services in a mid-size school division for the School Health Initiative Program (SHIP). She also writes a blog, F4: All Things Food and can be followed on Twitter.

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

The Case for Soaking Your Grains

The Case for Soaking Your Grains

Soaking grains is pretty darned simple! With a little advanced planning and a couple extra minutes in food prep, you'll have more nutritious, delicious and easily digested grains.
Bake Fresh Sourdough Bread at Home

Bake Fresh Sourdough Bread at Home

Baking bread is a wonderful stress reliever, especially if you take time to knead the dough by hand.
5 Tips for a Guilt-Free New Year's Eve Party

5 Tips for a Guilt-Free New Year's Eve Party

We're halfway through the holidays โ€” also known as "diet sabotage season" โ€” and there's one major hurdle left: the New Year's Eve party!
Thanksgiving Tradition Gets a Flavor Update

Thanksgiving Tradition Gets a Flavor Update

One traditional side dish that I love is cranberry sauce โ€” the stuff made with fresh cranberries, not the jelly mold from the can! Every year, I see so many variations of cranberry sauce recipes in cooking magazines and online, but I have never actually made my own ... until now.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives

Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed ยป

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop