Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the release of a request for applications for the USDA’s Fiscal Year 2016 round of Farm to School grants. Designed to increase the availability of local foods in eligible schools, these grants help new farm to school programs get started or expand existing efforts, facilitating stronger connections between local and regional producers and school cafeterias.
“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Vilsack said. “These Farm to School grants will help schools respond to the growing demand for local foods and increase market opportunities for many types of food producers.”
Four different kinds of grants are available. Planning grants are for schools or school districts just getting started on farm to school activities; they’re designed to help them organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by incorporating best practices into early planning considerations. Implementation grants are available for schools or school districts seeking to augment or expand existing farm to school efforts. Support service grants are intended for non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers to evolve farm to school initiatives.
Additionally, all eligible entities can still apply for funds to support training and technical assistance, such as local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and integration of agriculture based curriculum.
Proposals for planning, implementation, and support service grants are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, May 20, 2015. Letters of intent for training grants are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, April 30, 2015. To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to the application process on March 25, 2015, 1:00 EST.
“USDA is proud to support communities across the country as they plan and implement innovative farm to school projects. Evidence suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices,” said Vilsack.
More information about the grant program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found on-line at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program.
The Farm to School Grant Program is a cornerstone of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work on local and regional foods. The grants are part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The Act provides $5 million annually to support grants, technical assistance, and the federal administrative costs related to USDA’s Farm to School Program.
We’re having a ball sharing your stories about National School Breakfast Week. Today’s featured celebration is Brownsville Texas ISD at Veterans High School. Take a look!
I had a table during open house and passed out samples of the breakfast we serve to our students to the parents. Answered any questions parents had of our breakfast and gave them the print outs of the menus we serve. I also did a presentation on the importance of a healthy balanced breakfast to parents during a parental meeting. And started the day celebrating Dr. Seuss B Day by preparing a balanced green eggs and ham breakfast to our Book Club Students. A few students from the book club helped prepare the breakfast.
What a great idea to involve parents! They play such an important role, and we applaud your efforts to include them in your celebration. Looks like fun was had by all!
From our friends at GrantStation – looks like a great match…
Grants Promote the Family Farm System
Farm Aid supports nonprofit organizations that work to maintain a family farm system of agriculture and that promote solutions to the challenges facing rural communities. Grants of $3,000 to $10,000 are provided in the following categories: Growing the Good Food Movement supports programs that build local and regional food systems, connecting farmers directly to consumers and creating new value-added markets for family farmers. Helping Farmers Thrive focuses on projects that provide farmers with the resources needed to get started on the land, access new markets, transition to more sustainable farming practices, produce renewable fuels, and stay on the land in the face of financial crisis and natural disasters. Taking Action to Change the System funds organizations that promote fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns to defend family farm agriculture. Letters of inquiry are due by May 1, 2015; full proposals must be submitted by August 1, 2015. Grant application guidelines are available on the Farm Aid website.
National Nutrition Month is in full swing and this year’s theme “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” is focused on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. Here are some simple tips from ChooseMyPlate.gov that will get you on your way towards a healthier lifestyle:
• Find out how many calories YOU need for a day. Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov to find your calorie level.
• Enjoy your food, but eat less.
• Avoid oversized portions.
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
• Make half your grains whole grains.
• Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt.
• Choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals.
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
• Be physically active your way with activities you enjoy.
For more tips check out Learning ZoneXpress’ array of MyPlate nutrition resources to help guide you as you “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle”.
Paulding County School District celebrated National School Breakfast Week with a creative coloring contest!
We ask children to color our NSBW coloring sheet. In order to get a coloring sheet we encourage the children to come eat breakfast with us. On Friday the winner of the coloring contest will win a tony the tiger pillow. During this week we are going to the schools dressed up as an apple and carrot and encouraging the children to come eat breakfast with us.
We absolutely love the costumes. What a fabulous way to get the attention of your students and send a positive, health message! Way to go Paulding County!