Apples ready for picking at Skytop Orchard in Henderson County, in 2011. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

Economy and money icon

Every year, USDA awards up to $5 million in grants to help schools connect with local producers and teach kids where their food comes from. These funds support activities ranging from training, planning, and developing partnerships, to purchasing equipment, planting school gardens, and organizing field trips. Grantees include schools and districts (large and small, rural and urban), Indian tribal organizations, producers and producer groups, non-profit entities, and state and local agencies.

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.

In this funding round, USDA is soliciting applications for three types of grants:

  1. Planning grants are intended for school districts or schools just starting to incorporate farm to school program elements into their operations.
  2. Implementation grants are intended for school districts or schools to help scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.
  3. Support service grants are intended for 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 broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.

Proposals are due at midnight EST, April 24, 2013. In all cases, a 25 percent cash or in-kind match of the total project cost is required.

Go here for more information, including application guidelines.

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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