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Community Food Systems

Farm to School Grant Program

Last Published: 10/03/2018

Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act was amended to create a Farm to School Progam to:

  • Distribute grant funding 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 competitive Farm to School grants to be used for for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Through the FY 2018 Omnibus Bill, the Farm to School Grant Program was appropriated additional funding. In FY 2019 and FY 2020, OCFS will release approximately $7.5 million to help reach more communities seeking to incorporate local products into the school meal programs, integrate agricultural education into the classroom, and cultivate and expand school gardens.

NEW! 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.

Applicants should carefully review the RFA, inlcuding grant eligibiltiy requirements, found in sections 3.0 through 3.3 of the RFA. More information can be found in the Farm to School Grant Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Document. OCFS will also conduct webinars with important information regarding how to prepare a complete and competitive grant application. Recordings of these webinars will also be made available online for those who cannot participate in person. All of these resources can be found on the Grant Applicant Resources page.

The following grant tracks are available in FY 2019:

  • 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 intended 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.

FY 2018 Farm to School Grantees

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.

Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, the Farm to School Grant program will be supporting 73 grants serving more than 6,006 schools and 2.8 million students, nearly 66 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced price meals. You can learn more about our FY 18 grant projects and the great work being done by visiting our FY 2018 List of Awardees.

Grant Related Resources

Contact Us

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.