February 20, 2014
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of a request for applications for the third round of USDA’s Farm to School grants, including the addition of a new funding track for training events and conferences. These grants help to improve the health and well being of students through school meals that incorporate locally produced foods, educate children about food, and create new and expanded markets for local food producers.
To see the complete request for applications, please click here.
Up to $5 million in competitive grants are available for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.
A new funding track available in fiscal year 2015 will make an additional amount of approximately $500,000 available to eligible entities to support conferences, trainings, and events focused on farm to school program development. The Training and Event funds range from $15,000 – $50,000.
USDA expects to distribute approximately $500,000 in additional funds to support at least one statewide or regional meeting in all seven FNS regions and at least one national conference.
Grant Types Available
With the addition of the new funding track, the following four types of grants are available:
1) Conference/Event grants are open to all interested parties and intended to support conferences, events, and trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or conferences, events, and trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education and integration of agriculture‐based curriculum.
Letters of Intent for Conference/Event grants are due via email on April 2, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
2) Planning grants are open to school districts or schools just starting out on Farm to School Activities and seeking to incorporate farm to school program elements into their operations.
3) Implementation grants are open to school districts or schools seeking to expand or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.
4) Support Service grants are open to state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with school districts or schools to further develop existing farm to school initiatives and to provide support services such as trainings, complementary curriculum, and other activities for farm to school initiatives.
Planning, Implementation, and Support Service Grant proposals are due via grants.gov on April 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST. For each of these proposals, a 25 percent cash or in-kind match of the total project cost is required.
The Farm to School Grants program was created in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, also known as the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. NSAC, together with the National Farm to School Network and the former Community Food Security Coalition, championed the inclusion of the Farm to School program in that legislation, working with many senators and representatives led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ). Since October 1, 2012, the Act has provided $5 million per year for the Farm to School grant program.
To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host four webinars. All webinars will be recorded and available via the Farm to School webpage within 1-2 weeks of initial viewing.
There is no registration required. For more information, please click here.
Sample Proposals, Frequently Asked Questions, and Information from Previous Grant Cycles
USDA provides several documents on their webpage to assist applicants in preparing their grant proposals, including sample proposals, a list and summary of past grant awardees, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Farm to School Grant Program. Please click here to access these documents and information.
For more information, please contact USDA Farm to School Grant Program via email at email@example.com. For regular updates about USDA’s Farm to School Program, please sign up for the USDA Farm to School e-newsletter.
Stakeholder input on Request for Application
USDA also seeks stakeholder comments about this Request for Application (RFA) to consider in developing the next Farm to School Grant Program RFA. Written stakeholder comments can be submitted via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org and should state that they are responding to the fiscal year 2015 Farm to School Grant Program RFA. The deadline for comments on the FY 2015 RFA is 11:59pm EST on May 14, 2014.