It's Grant Season

Volume 2, Issue 32, October 25, 2016

USDA celebrates farm to school month

Grants, Grants, and More Grants!

Girls sniffing plant Chicago Public Schools

Fall is always an exciting time of year: the leaves are changing, kids are back in school, and USDA has several funding opportunities available. Check out these three grants that can support your community food systems efforts.

Farm to School Grant Program

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.

Visit our grant opportunities page to review the RFA for complete application instructions, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and additional application support materials. Check out the grant program page for an overview of past grantees, program summary reports, and more.

Closing Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016

Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program

The primary goals of the CFP are to: Meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service; Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities; and, promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues;

Farm to school example: Jones Valley Urban Farm partners with Birmingham City Schools to improve students' understanding of core subjects through food and nutrition-based education including science, math, engineering, and English language arts.

Closing Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)

The 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills showed renewed interest in beginning farmer and rancher programs because of the rising average age of U.S. farmers, the 8% projected decrease in the number of farmers and ranchers between 2008 and 2018, and the growing recognition that new programs are needed to address the needs of the next generation of beginning farmers and ranchers.

Farm to school example: The Minnesota Food Association trains socially disadvantaged and immigrant farmers  in rural Minnesota and Western Wisconsin on operating vegetable farms, direct marketing to CSA and farmers markets and wholesale distribution to hospitals, schools, and other institutions.

Closing Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016

Grants and Loans Chart

Explore your eligibility for other USDA grants & loans using this tool.

Boy with lunch in Hartford, CT

Change Beyond the Plate

School Food Focus 2016 National Gathering, Change Beyond the Plate is December 6-8 in Braselton, GA. School Food Focus is a national collaborative that ignites change in our food system by working on both the demand and supply sides of school food. Together, we're changing the way school food is produced and purchased so that every child in the U.S. - regardless of income or race - has access to delicious, nutritious school meals.

Now in its sixth year, the National Gathering is a unique space for attendees to share innovative procurement strategies, connect with supply chain leaders and strengthen the school food movement.

October is Farm to School Month

SNA Webinar Wednesdays: Celebrating National Farm to School Month with USDA

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 2:00 3:15 PM ET

In celebration of National Farm to School Month, join SNA to learn about resources from USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems and how farm to school strategies can boost participation, reduce food waste, and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. This webinar will showcase Doug Davis and Sarah Heusner from Burlington School Food Project and Alex Emmott from Oakland Unified School District. We’ll also highlight small ways you can jump in.

Katie Wilson talks with students on CO Proud School Meal Day

Colorado Proud School Meal Day Features Local Yak, Peaches, Potatoes and More!

Andrea Northup, Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Mountain Plains Regional Office and Anjali Budhiraja, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Mountain Plains Regional Office

From locally-raised yak burgers to school garden-grown zucchini, Colorado schools kicked off the school year with farm to school gusto! On September 14, an estimated 550 schools reaching 160,700 students celebrated Colorado Proud School Meal Day by featuring fresh, locally-grown food in their school meals. The annual event is organized by Colorado Proud, a program to promote local foods through the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Students from the public Denver Green School celebrated with special guests including Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary Katie Wilson and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Guests joined students for a delicious school lunch featuring homegrown zucchini, onions, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Students voiced their excitement for the fresh food, and guests headed outside to the school farm where the produce was grown.