USDA offer farm-to-school grant

$5 million in assistance to be offered each year to implement programs.

April 20—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Grant Program enables the organization to assist schools implementing farm-to-school programs through grants and technical assistance. The grant program is authorized and funded through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The program will assist schools in procuring food from local producers, as well as other initiatives including nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms and cooking classes.

Effective Oct. 1, $5 million will be provided to the USDA on an annual basis to support these grants, technical assistance and the federal administrative costs related to the USDA's farm-to-school program. The money will be administered through the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services, which anticipated awarding up to $3.5 million in grants during the program's first year.

"School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from," Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a press release. "More and more, schools are connecting with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses each day and these programs are a great way to bring more local offerings into school cafeterias and support U.S. producers as well. As we struggle with obesity and associated diet related diseases, farm to school programs give us one important tool to help our kids make lifelong healthy eating choices."

To apply for a grant, letters of intent are suggested, but not required, by May 18. Proposals are due June 15. To learn more about the program visit the USDA's Farm to School website.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources