OCFS received additional funding appropriated through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill for the Farm to School Grant Program. Over the next two grant cycles, OCFS will release an additional $5 million in farm to school grant funds to support farm to school activities across the nation. This means that there will be at least $7 million in available farm to school funds in fiscal years 2019 and 2020! Additional funding will help reach more communities seeking to incorporate local products into the school meals program, integrate agricultural education in the classroom, and cultivate and expand school gardens. The FY 2019 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications (RFA) will be released in fall 2018!
Congratulations to the FY 2018 Farm to School Grantees!
OCFS congratulates all of the 2018 Farm to School Grant recipients! USDA’s Farm to School Grants fund school districts, State and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers, and non-profit organizations in their efforts to increase local foods served through child nutrition programs, teach children about food and agriculture through garden and classroom education, and develop schools’ and farmers’ capacities to participate in farm to school.
For the 2018 - 2019 school year, 73 grants will serve more than 6,006 schools and 2.8 million students, nearly 66 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Check out our FY 2018 List of Awardees to learn more!.
For additional funding opportunities for farm to school activities, take a look at the USDA Grants and Loans that Support Farm to School Activities for more details.
Farm to School Grant Program Details
Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act was amended to create a Farm to School Progam to:
- Distribute grant fuding to improve access to local foods in schools;
- Provide training and technical assistance to improve access to local foods in schools; and,
- Disseminate research and data on existing programs and opportunities for expansion.
On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. For FY 2018, we offer the following grants:
- Implementation grants are intended to help schools, school districts, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts to scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives. Implementation awards range from $50,000 - $100,000.
- Planning grants are for schools or school districts, state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts that are just getting started on farm to school activities. These funds are intended to help these entities organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by embedding known best practices into early design considerations. Planning awards range from $20,000 - $50,000.
- Training grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- and medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- and medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit entities to support trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and/or integration of agriculture‐based curriculum. Training awards range from $20,000 - $50,000.
For all questions pertaining to the USDA Farm to School Grant Program, please email Farm to School. Subscribe to our E-letter to receive information and updates from USDA’s Office of Community Food Systems.