October is more than a time for crisp temperatures and vibrant autumn leaves. It’s also Farm to School Month, when USDA joins schools, farms, and community organizations across the country to celebrate the role of farm to school programs in getting healthy, locally grown foods onto children’s trays through child nutrition programs, including school breakfast and lunch.
Schools, farmers, and other organizations that help produce or serve meals to kids through USDA’s child nutrition programs can apply now for a USDA Farm to School Grant. In 2023, USDA will award approximately $12 million in grants through a competitive process that provides bonus points to projects operated by and serving communities that are underserved, marginalized, or adversely affected by poverty and inequality. USDA invites all eligible and interested organizations to apply by January 6, 2023.
The upcoming round of grants will build on the $70 million of investments in farm to school that USDA made this year, which includes the first-ever non-competitive grants for states to assist their child nutrition programs in using more local foods.
Besides providing high-quality local foods, farm to school also empowers kids to make healthy food choices through nutrition education. The video below from the Royalton-Hartfield Central School District in rural New York shows how a 2021 USDA Farm to School grantee is using the funds to positively impact kids from pre-K through high school.
As a father of young children, I believe offering children fresh, tasty meals plus knowledge about their food is a great way to provide the nutrition and education that will help them reach their full potential.
Contact your local school or community organizations to find out if they’re doing farm to school activities. If they are, there’s always room to grow and do more. And if they’re not, there’s no better time than now to start. Parents, teachers, students, farmers, and community members can all become Farm to School Champions!
Grant applicants can find resources to assist in the application process.