Farm To School Technical Assistance-Cooperative Agreement
The purpose of the Farm to School Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreement described in this request for applications (RFA) is to support nonprofit entities and Indian Tribal Organizations to implement national- and/or regional-level farm to school activities. Awardees under this cooperative agreement will undertake projects supporting USDA’s priorities of Food System Transformation, Improving Child Health through Nutritious School Meals, and Indigenous Food Sovereignty.
There are three funding tracks available, corresponding with each USDA priority. Applicants to the Supporting Community Engagement track (aligned with USDA’s priority of Improving Child Health through Nutritious School Meals) will propose projects that expand farm to school institutes. The Supporting Producer Engagement track aligns with USDA’s Food Systems Transformation priority and will fund projects that strengthen producer engagement with the child nutrition programs market. Finally, the Supporting Tribal Engagement track will fund an entity to conduct Tribal dialogues with the purpose of supporting FNS’s farm to school grantmaking and technical assistance for Tribal entities, in alignment with USDA’s Indigenous Food Sovereignty priority.
Available funding ranges from $500,000 to $1 million depending on the applicant’s choice of track. Eligible applicants are national and/or regional level nonprofit entities and Indian Tribal Organizations with a history of meaningful engagement with the target audience for this cooperative agreement
Supporting Producer Engagement Track
- National Center for Appropriate Technology ($990,712) – National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) will collaborate with producer organizations to expand producer-focused training and technical assistance using NCAT’s widely adaptable Bringing the Farm to School curriculum, which helps local producers engage in the child nutrition programs market. Project activities include developing a best practice manual and resources for creating impactful events that connect producers and school buyers, hosting connector events across the nation, providing technical assistance to producers as they prepare to sell to schools, and training state agencies, producer organizations, and farm to school teams on how to plan and implement connector events using the program’s tools and resources
Supporting Community Engagement Track
- Association of State & Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors ($500,000) – The Association of State & Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors (Association of State Public Health Nutritionists) will administer the first Farm to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Institute and Learning Collaborative, in cooperation with the USDA. Ten or more state-focused farm to preschool coalitions will participate in this enriching multi-year program, which includes an in-person and virtual summit, technical assistance, networking, virtual learning opportunities, and implementation materials.
- Shelburne Farms ($498,997) – This project will support the continued adaptation of the Vermont FEED Farm to School Institute Adaption Program by the Shelburne Farms’ Institute for Sustainable Schools. The project will train 12 state agency farm to school teams to deliver farm to school institutes to school teams in their states, and will also provide ongoing support to state agency teams that have graduated from the Farm to School Institute in previous years. It will substantially increase the capacity of participating state teams to provide impactful farm to school professional development that creates while school change and improves students’ access to local food and food systems education.
- The Tides Center ($499,699) – The National Farm to School Network (NFSN), a project of The Tides Center working to increase access to local food and nutrition education, will launch The Fundamentals of Farm to School and Early Care and Education (ECE) Institute project. The project will create a training program and associated resources designed specifically for people supporting farm to school in agency and institutional settings (e.g., state agencies, state networks, agriculture extension offices, etc.) who provide technical assistance at the community level. The curriculum will focus on topics like farm to school and ECE basics, local procurement, working with agricultural producers, network building, communications, and community and cultural competency. NFSN will also offer one-on-one coaching to supplement the curriculum.
Supporting Tribal Engagement Track
- Intertribal Agriculture Council ($499,999) – The Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), which has relationships with Native communities and youth throughout the country, will launch a three-year project to foster crucial dialogues with American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) youth, their parents or guardians, and Native producers. A goal of these dialogues is to better understand how farm to school programs can support Tribal food sovereignty. IAC will share findings from the dialogues with the USDA and AI/AN communities, who can use the collected knowledge to empower youth, communities, and Native producers to connect the school food environment and Indigenous foodways.