$1.5M available to local Farm-to-School programs

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — Local Farm-to-School programs are eligible to apply for new funding from New York State.

On November 4, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced the available $1.5 million in funding for eligible school districts with Farm-to-School programs across New York State.

These programs aim to help K-12 schools connect with local farmers, increase the use of locally grown food on school menu and improve student health. The programs also help support farmers by providing increased economic benefits.

“The Farm-to-School Program is a great way to ensure New York’s students have access to fresh, healthy foods and they understand where their meals come from,” Commissioner Ball said in a press release. “I’m proud that this program continues to help schools tap into the local food movement and serve more healthy lunches with products either grown in their school garden or purchased from their community farmers. This is a win-win for our agricultural industry and for our state’s future leaders.”

The funding announced by Commissioner Ball is the sixth round of the Farm-to-School program. Eligible applicants include K-12 school food authorities, public schools, charter schools, not-for-profit schools and entities participating in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program or the Summer Food Service Program.

Applications for funding must include proposals on how funding will be utilized. Grant funding up to $100,000 per project will be awarded for proposals including, but not limited to the following:

  • employing a local or regional farm-to-school coordinator;  
  • training for food service staff to increase knowledge of local procurement and preparation of locally produced food;  
  • purchasing equipment needed to increase capacity of school kitchen and food service staff to prepare and serve locally produced food;   
  • completing capital improvements to support the transport and/or storage of locally produced food; and  
  • creating new food products for the menu.  

Additionally, up to $500,000 of the funds will be designated for applicants who have previously not received a Farm-to-School award.

Applications for Round Six of the Farm-to-School Program must register and apply through Grants Gateway. Proposals must be received by December 30, 2021, by 4:00 pm. 

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