Five Steps to Help YOU Learn More about USDA Farm to School Grants

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Volume 2, Issue 28, September 20, 2016

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
 Edible Schoolyard NOLA
Grant Program Summary Report

Five Steps to Learn More about USDA Farm to School Grants

On September 13, 2016, USDA announced the release of the FY 2017 request for application (RFA).

Here are the resources you need:

  1. Explore our grant program website.
  2. Read the request for applications.
  3. Study the frequently asked questions and sample documents from past grantees.
  4. Discover past grantee projects by reading the grant award summaries and the FY13-16 Summary of Grant Awards Summary.
  5. Email us! We encourage you to reach out if you have questions. Email us at

Grant Webinars

To assist eligible applicants, we're hosting several webinars to review the RFA and answer questions about the application process. For those unable to join, the webinars will be recorded and posted on our website.

General Overview
On September 29, 2016, 1:00 pm ET, USDA will host a webinar for all interested parties.
Click here to register.

State Agencies
As noted in the RFA, state agency applications are a priority in FY 2017. On October 4, 2016, 1:00 pm ET, USDA will host a webinar for state agencies. This session will include examples of previously funding state agency projects.
Click here to register.

Tribal Organizations
On October 6, 2016, 1:00 pm ET, USDA will host a webinar for our tribal partners and those interested in partnering with tribal organizations.
Click here to register.

Project Bread Cooking Class

Grantee Spotlight

During summer vacation, Groundwork Somerville, Somerville Public Schools Farm to School staff, and parent volunteers worked together to maintain several school gardens. The plants were ready when students returned this fall, and several garden lessons are planned for students to learn about harvesting, seed saving, and cover crops. Additionally, this summer marked the third year of working with Project Bread on the Healthy Summer Harvest Program. Throughout July, Chef Nick Speros worked weekly with about 70 students to inspire them to try new foods and familiar foods prepared in different ways. More than half the children said they would try the foods again!

Congratulations on the great work, Somerville!

Farm to School Month is Around the Corner

October was designated National Farm to School Month by Congress in 2010 to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food.

Everyone can celebrate Farm to School Month! Check out the National Farm to School Network's website for ideas and start planning your festivities now.

Farm to School Month Poster

Girls at Cortez Middle School Eating Lunch

Local Foods in Schools Bring Rural Communities Together

From the west coast to New England, rural communities across the country are implementing community food systems’ strategies. The projects are bringing more local food into school meals, promoting healthy eating habits and expanding markets for American farmers and producers.

The USDA Farm to School Grant Program is proud to support these efforts. Over the past four years, approximately four out of ten schools impacted by the program are in rural communities. We look forward to supporting similar projects in the future and are currently accepting applications for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding. Visit our grant opportunities page for more information.

To celebrate the release of the FY 2017 RFA, we are highlighting two projects that are having a big impact in their communities.