The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $12.1 million in farm-to-school grants to 159 schools and organizations throughout the country. Here’s a look at some of the recipients and how they plan on using the funds to strengthen their farm-to-school programs.
Panola School District 4
The Panola, Okla., district was awarded just under $100,000 to expand its program to include a greenhouse and aquaponic system. Once constructed, Panola plans to host community events in those spaces. The district will also hire a community liaison to develop new relationships with local producers in an effort to increase the amount of local, healthy food options for students.
Krystone Central School District
The Mill Hall, Pa., district will use its $50,000 grant to create a farm-to-school leadership team that will come up with a monthly schedule of farm-to-school activities for students during the 2021‐22 school year. The district also plans on using grant funds to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to its summer feeding program and expand that model into its breakfast and lunch program. Krystone will also be rehabbing its greenhouse, visiting other nearby districts to obtain best practices, attending the national farm-to-school conference and working with Penn State Extension to create a farm-to-school curriculum for the classroom.
School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties
The Irmo, S.C., district will be using its $99,957 grant to create a food waste recycling program. The program will implement pre‐ and post‐consumer recycling at five schools in the district. The waste will be converted into compost that will used at the district’s gardens and farms to boost the production of broccoli that is served as part of its school lunch program. Any surplus compost will be sold, with proceeds going back to the farm-to-school program.
Southern Door County School District
The Brussels, Wis., district has been awarded $50,000 to create a district- and community-specific farm-to-school action plan that will include “signature projects” for each grade level as well as a variety of other nutrition education activities. The district will also allocate some of the funds toward developing local procurement, delivery and processing strategies.
Bethany Christian Schools
The Goshen, Ind., district’s $55,088 grant will expand its program to include a new hoop house and chicken coop where students will help raise chickens. The nutrition team will also work on strengthening relationships with local producers to make sure that most of its school lunches include something grown either at the school or by a local farmer. Elementary students from nearby schools will also be invited to Bethany to participate in educational events and will also take trips to local farms.