2020 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Here

Volume 6, Issue 1, October 2019

Boy and Girl Planting Seeds



2020 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Live!

The Office of Community Food Systems is very excited to celebrate another Farm to School Month by announcing the official release of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA). Farm to school programs support local communities through a variety of activities, including taste tests, farm visits, local purchasing, food and agriculture education, and farmer and producer training.

USDA will award up to $10 million in competitive grants to eligible entities through the Farm to School Grant Program in FY 2020. Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in eligible schools providing students with nutritious meals, while also supporting local producers. In FY 2019, USDA awarded a record 126 grants across the United States.

The RFA includes three tracks—Implementation, Planning, and a new State Agency track—to support a variety of projects and implementation stages. Each track provides funding for a specific range of activities:

  • Planning grant awards range from $20,000-$50,000. Planning grants help eligible entities build a strong foundation for their efforts rooted in best practices, and are ideal for applicants just getting started on farm to school activities. Some activities may include collecting data, engaging stakeholders, identifying gaps in knowledge and resources, pinpointing and developing solutions for obstacles that hinder farm to school programming for a particular community, and more!
  • Implementation grant awards range from $50,000-$100,000. An implementation grant works well for eligible entities with prior farm to school experience, helping scale up or further develop existing farm to school initiatives. Some examples of activities in implementation grants include (but are not limited to) training and technical assistance, supply-chain development, evaluation activities, curriculum development, creation of promotional materials or campaigns, and formation of networks or coalitions.
  • State Agency grant awards range from $50,000-$100,000 to help State agencies seeking to improve access to local food served in eligible Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) by incorporating local procurement and agricultural education activities. Eligible State agencies include any State-level agency working to promote farm to CNP activities, such as State Departments of Education, Health, or Agriculture.

A wide variety of entities are eligible to compete for funding through this grant opportunity. Schools and school districts, local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- to medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- to medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for Planning and Implementation grants. State agencies may apply for a State Agency grant. Please see sections 3.0 through 3.4 of the RFA. A Frequently Asked Questions document will be available soon on the Farm to School Grant Applicant Resources Page (https://www.fns.usda.gov/cfs/resources-farm-school-grant-program-applicants).

The Grant RFA can be found online here.  Complete applications must be submitted on www.Grants.gov, by 11:59pm ET on December 13, 2019.

Check out the OCFS resources for grant applicants and see a list of prior grantees’ project descriptions for proposal inspiration!



Stay Tuned for a Two Part Webinar Series on the FY 2020 Farm to School RFA

Join OCFS for a special webinar on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019, at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. On this webinar, OCFS will review the RFA itself and address questions regarding the application process. OCFS will also host an additional webinar featuring some tips regarding the application writing process; the date and time for this webinar will be announced soon, so look out for more news in upcoming issues of The Dirt.

All webinars will be recorded and made available on the OCFS resources for grant applicants page.


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