The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced it is awarding more than $10 million in Farm-to-School Grants to 123 projects across the country. The USDA also announced that, for the first time, the department is empowering states with $60 million in non-competitive grants to develop stronger and sustainable Farm-to-School programs over the next four years. The USDA claims that both actions will help more kids nationwide eat healthy, homegrown foods.
“The expansion of Farm-to-School is more important than ever for our kids,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. “When schools and local producers work together, children benefit from higher-quality foods on their plates and program operators have stable sources for the products they need. Farm-to-School is an investment in the next generation and one of many ways the department is advancing nutrition security – the consistent, equitable access to healthy and affordable foods that promote well-being.”
The Farm-to-School program seeks to increase the amount of locally produced foods served through child nutrition programs, while also educating children about how their foods are harvested and made. Various child nutrition operators can participate in Farm-to-School, from states and tribal nations to schools and community organizations.
The 123 projects funded by the fiscal year 2022 competitive grants will serve more than 3 million children at more than 5,000 schools in 44 states and the District of Columbia.
Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told 1819 News, “The Farm-to-School grants have lifelong benefits for children, families, and communities. The grants give children access to more nutritious options sourced by local farmers, and students learn how to make healthful food choices. This is a good start to helping combat the food deserts that many of our rural and economically impoverished areas experience.”
For more information on how your community can get involved with Farm to School activities visit their website.
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