USDA’s Farm to School Program is housed in the Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS). OCFS helps child nutrition program operators incorporate local foods in the National School Lunch Program and its associated programs, as well as the Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, OCFS staff works with tribal communities to respond to their desire to better incorporate traditional foods into our meal programs. OCFS accomplishes this through grant making, training and technical assistance and research.
The Food and Nutrition Service has seven regional offices around the country; in each is a Farm to School Regional Lead available to provide farm to school related support to state agencies and other entities in their region. A list of regions, along with the names and contact information for regional and national USDA Office of Community Food Systems staff, can be found here.
Learn more about our work: Farm to School at USDA, 2012-2015: Four Years in Review. To receive information and updates from USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems, please sign up for our E-letter.
NEW! Food Safety Fact Sheet: Get the Facts about Food Safety
A new resource in the Office of Community Food Systems Fact Sheet series is now available for download. Get the Facts About Food Safety addresses common myths and mosconceptions related to food safety when incorporating locally grown foods in school meals.
The Farm to School Grantee Report is Now Available
The Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) is pleased to announce the release of a new report; Cultivating Opportunity: An Overview of USDA's Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 Farm to School Grantees' Growing Achievements. This report highlights Farm to School program trends and best practices from Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 Farm to School Grantees. This report also features baseline data provided by grantees which is used to assess the impact of the grant program on the growth of the Farm to School movement nationwide.
Federal Procurement Rules have changed
The threshold for micro-purchases has increased from $3,500 to $10,000. The federal simplified acquisition threshold has also increased from $150,000 to $250,000. These changes are effective immediately for federal assistance awards made in Federal Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.
On December 12, 2017, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) into law, enacting immediate changes to federal micro-purchasing and simplified acquisition thresholds. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum to all Federal agencies on June 20, 2018, regarding the new thresholds established by the Act. The memo is published online and available to the public.
Be aware that State or local rules may be more restrictive than Federal rules.
Please check the Child Nutrition Division Policy website for additional guidance to be released soon.
Request for Proposals now open for Farm to School Program Training Curricula Development
OCFS is pleased to announce that the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development of a Farm to School Program Training Curricula has been released. One or more new cooperative agreements for FY 2019-2021 will be established for the purposes of developing a training curriculum, conducting a train the trainer session, and evaluating the results of farm to school trainings to help producers build their capacity to launch or expand farm to school efforts. In addition, the selected applicant will conduct a needs assessment with producers in close collaboration with State agencies. FNS expects to award approximately $1 to $2 million dollars to one or more applicants. The RFP is available on Grants.gov beginning September 26, 2018, through November 26, 2018.
FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program RFA Now Available!
The FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is now open to applicants. Due to additional funding made available to the Farm to School Grant Program through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Office of Community Food Systems seeks to award approximately $7.5M in FY 2019 funding.
The RFA closes December 4, 2018, 11:59pm ET. Late applications will not be accepted. We anticipate releasing award decisions in late spring or early summer of 2019. For more information, visit our Farm to School Grant Program page.