The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) recently awarded funding to schools across Minnesota for two new grants to increase the amount of healthy local foods in school meals through its Farm to School programs.
Forty-six school districts across Minnesota received a total of $741,619 for purchasing Minnesota-grown and -raised foods to be used in school meal programs. This grant funding will leverage an additional $624,619 in purchases of Minnesota grown- and raised-foods, for nearly $1,366,239 in total investment.
Recipient school districts were awarded one of two grants:
- Farm to School First Bite Mini-Grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have little to no experience with local procurement as part of a Farm to School programing.
- Farm to School Full Tray Grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have some Farm to School procurement experience.
- Applicants were also able to apply for additional funds to purchase equipment to support Farm to School initiatives.
Funding for this program is made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools, and more throughout the state of Minnesota. The AGRI Program exists to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy sectors.
The grant recipients may receive technical assistance to successfully implement their farm to school procurement activities from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy thanks to funding from the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Farm to School grant recipents in our KAUS listening area included Alden/Conger Schools in Freeborn County, who received a First Bite Award of $3,000, Glenville/Emmons Schools in Freeborn County, who received a First Bite Award of $2,500 and NRHEG Schools in Waseca County, who received a First Bite Award of $5,000.