USDA seeks 2016 Farm to School Grant applicants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the USDA’s 2016 Farm To School grants. Designed to increase the availability of local foods in eligible schools, these grants help new programs get started or can be used to expand existing efforts.

Four different kinds of grants are available.

• Planning grants are for schools or districts just getting started on farm to school activities. They’re designed to help recipients 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.

Planning awards range from $20,000 – $45,000 and a 25 percent match of the total project cost is required. Implementation and support service awards range from $65,000 – $100,000 and a 25 percent match of the total project cost is required. Training awards range from $15,000 – $50,000 and there is no match requirement.

Proposals for planning, implementation and support service grants are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST, May 20. Letters of intent for training grants are due by 11:59 p.m. EST, Apr. 30.

More information about the grant program, upcoming webinars relevant to applicants, and sample grant applications can be found online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school-grant-program.