The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has awarded 53 farm-to-school grants to organizations in the state.
The grants, which total over $2.8 million, will increase the availability of local foods in schools, strengthen the connections between school nutrition teams and local suppliers, provide additional educational opportunities for students and more.
This year, the state also awarded grant funding to purchase and install shipping container farms. Eight awardees received up to $250,000 each for the purchase and installation of a shipping container growing unit whose products are connected to a school through either a procurement relationship or as an educational experience.
"These awards are an investment in our future the future of our children, the future of our health, the future of our food supply and the future of our agriculture industry here in Connecticut," said the Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt in a statement.
Funding for the grant program came from the American Rescue Plan Act and was distributed in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative.
Farm-to-school has continued to grow over the past several years. Last summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded 103 farm-to-school grants through its Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program.
The USDA has also invested $60 million in farm-to-school commodity purchasing and recently partnered with the Urban School Food Alliance to help schools overcome procurement challenges, including sourcing locally.