The Minnesota Department of Agriculture recently awarded funding to schools across Minnesota for two new grants to increase the amount of healthy local foods in school meals through its Farm to School programs.
Forty-six school districts across Minnesota received a total of $741,619 for purchasing Minnesota-grown and -raised foods to be used in school meal programs. This grant funding will leverage an additional $624,619 in purchases of Minnesota grown- and raised foods, for nearly $1,366,239 in total investment.
‘We’ve expanded our investment in new markets that directly benefit both farmers and children through our Farm to School programs,’ MDA Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey said. ‘That means more schools participating for the first time, and longtime participants expanding their offering of healthy, nutritious, local foods for students.’
Recipient school districts were awarded one of two grants:
- Farm to School First Bite Mini-Grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have little to no experience with local procurement as part of a Farm to School programming.
- Farm to School Full Tray Grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have some Farm to School procurement experience.
- Applicants were also able to apply for additional funds to purchase equipment to support Farm to School initiatives.
The following is a list of area schools receiving funding:
- Alden Conger Public School – $3,000
- Caledonia Area Public Schools – $5,000
- ???????Cannon Falls Area Schools – $5,000
- Glenville-Emmons Public Schools – $2,500
- NRHEG Public Schools – $5,000.00
Funding for this program is made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools, and more throughout the state of Minnesota.
The grant recipients may receive technical assistance to successfully implement their farm to school procurement activities from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy thanks to funding from the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant.