Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would award 73 grants through the Farm to School Grant Program, worth over $5.1 million, to Farm to School programs across the country.
Farm to School programs broaden students’ access to fresh, locally sourced foods in a number of ways, by: supporting local food production through training and guidance, fostering connections between local producers and schools, offering consultation services for beginning programs, and developing agricultural-based education for students.
This year, grants will be issued to organizations in 42 states, Washington D.C., and Guam. They are expected to reach over 2.8 million students throughout 6,006 individual schools. This round of grants will also devote over $350,000 to programs in five Tribal communities. Providing support for tribal communities is an essential part of working toward a more sustainable and equitable food system.
We are excited to congratulate the following National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) members and affiliated organizations for receiving Farm to School Grants this year.
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NSAC Member)
The Northeast Organic Farming Association New Jersey chapter (NOFA NJ) will receive a $39,467 grant in order to coordinate a new Farm to School program based upon an already-existing program in the area. They will work closely with the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, Cherry Valley Coop, and Princeton Montessori School to further develop regional food systems and strengthen the district’s supplier database.
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NSAC Member)
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont was awarded a Farm to School Grant of $85,565 to build upon their successful farm-based educational program. In addition to teaching students about the importance of sustainable food systems, the program will generate growth in locally-produced food markets. Both the Vermont and New Jersey chapters of NOFA are represented by the NOFA Interstate Council, an NSAC member organization.
Rural Action is part of the Central Appalachian Network (CAN), a participating member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Rural Action was awarded a grant totaling $99,820 from the USDA to develop a cooperative Farm to School network among four groups: RA, Live Healthy Appalachia, Community Food Initiatives, and the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks. Together, the organizations will work to solidify regional accessibility of healthy, locally-sourced food.
NSAC is also congratulates the five Native American communities who have secured grants under the USDA Farm to School program:
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians received a $100,000 grant that will allow them to produce fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats for eight tribal schools. The Choctaw Fresh Produce Enterprise, which operates high tunnel greenhouse farms, will be responsible for growing most of the food.
Native American Community Academy Foundation
The Native American Community Academy (NACA) Foundation of Albuquerque, New Mexico received $95,609 to grow the NACA charter school’s native-based curriculum. This will educate students on local agricultural practices and general nutritional well being.
The Oklahoma Cherokee Nation secured $49,318 in funding for a Cherokee Nation Sequoyah High School program that will provide farm-fresh food and agricultural education to students.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation
The Oklahoma Muscogee Nation received $29,466 in support of a joint-effort between the Muscogee Nation Department of Education and Henrietta Public Schools to develop an agricultural curriculum that supports native students and meets their nutritional needs.
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
The Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and School District of Bayfield, Wisconsin are cooperating on the Mino Bimaadiziiwin Sugarbush & Agricultural Education Project with the goal of encouraging student participation in local agricultural processes. In particular, the program is meant to acquaint students with the processes of, making traditional indigenous foods like sugarbush maple syrup. The tribe received $82,605 to further develop the program.
NSAC would also like to recognize the following awards:
Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government
The Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government was awarded $100,000 to support the efforts of the Louisville Farm to Table Program and The Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm–programs that aim to increase access to local foods among Jefferson County Public School students; it focuses particularly on those who rely upon free and reduced-priced meals.
Market Umbrella was awarded $99,199 for the purposes of broadening access to fresh produce, Farm to School education, and special certification programs for schools, farmers, food providers, and non-profits in the Orleans Parish. Market Umbrella currently administers the Crescent City Farmers Market and various other programs geared toward increasing the accessibility of fresh foods; they will utilize connections with partner organizations to advance Farm to School programming.
Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives will receive $40,000 to develop school gardens in two districts. They will provide school tours to farmers and farm tours to the students in an effort to expand everyone’s understanding of the importance of local, high quality foods. They will train farmers in the processes of developing an edible school farm, as well as train students to make nutritious food choices.
For the full list of 2018 Farm to School awards, you can visit this link.