The USDA recently awarded the first group of farm to school grants. Totaling more than $4.5 million, the grants will help farmers get their produce into local schools.
The money goes to sixty-eight projects, involving more than 3200 schools in thirty-seven states. 1.75 million students will reap the rewards of the farm to school projects.
Some projects are as small as starting a school garden or organizing field trips to local farms. Others are more large scale, such as the Lawrence County District in Arkansas, which is coordinating with other school districts to combine their buying power and provide farmers with a steady customer. Thirty other projects perform a similar task of making a group of schools and districts into larger, steadier customers.
Not all the money went to schools. Some of the grants went to producer organizations, such as the Lake County Community Development Corporation in Montana, which will produce lentil patties from locally grown lentils.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act established the farm to school program in 2010. To find more information about farm to school programs near you, check the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food map online.
Fresh vegetables photo via Shutterstock