2013 PRESS RELEASES
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February 6, 2013
TIME TO APPLY FOR FARM-TO-SCHOOL GRANTS
~ National Program Continues to Increase Local Foods in Schools and Provides New Economic Opportunities for Producers of All Kinds ~
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686
Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is taking applications for the Fiscal Year 2014 Farm-to-School grants. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages all eligible schools and organization to apply. These grants help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local farmers.
“Virginia has a very active Farm-to-School program,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner, “and these grants help connect schools with local food sources. The combination of new economic opportunities for farmers and fresh, healthy, local food in school cafeterias is an exciting one. I support this program whole-heartedly, both as Commissioner of Agriculture to help our farmers, and as a parent to encourage our nation’s children – including my own – to make lifelong healthy eating choices.”
This year, three different kinds of grants are available. Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm-to-school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct training, create complementary curriculum or further develop supply chains, among other activities. The deadline for proposals is midnight EST, April 24, 2013.
To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a series of webinars related to the application process:
· March 5, 2013, 1 p.m. EST – Planning Grants
· March 6, 2013, 1 p.m. EST – Implementation Grants
· March 7, 2013, p.m. EST – Support Service Grants
The Farm-to-School Grant Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities in implementing farm-to-school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The Act provides $5 million annually to support grants, technical assistance and the federal administrative costs related to USDA’s Farm-to-School Program. More information is available on the USDA website. Information on Virginia’s Farm-to-School Program is available here.