Funding available to expand locally grown food in schools

Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is looking for proposals for two new agricultural growth, research and innovation grants that aim to increase local purchasing in Farm to School programs, according to a press release.

School districts across Minnesota could receive a total of $374,000 for purchasing Minnesota-grown and raised foods used in school meal programs, through the MDA’s next round of AGRI Farm to School grants. School districts may apply for one of two grants:

• Farm to School full tray grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have some Farm to School procurement experience.

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• 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.

The first bite grant is intended to be an intentional learning process for the applicant. Recipients in fiscal year 2021 will not be eligible for the first bite grant in subsequent funding rounds. School districts may apply for a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $5,000. There is no match required.

The full tray grants will be awarded to school districts that have experience purchasing Minnesota-grown and raised products but want to expand their Farm to School programs. Applicants may apply for up to $35,000 based on the district size. Grants require a one to one match.

Applications for AGRI Farm to School first bite and full tray grants must be submitted by 4 p.m. Dec. 18.

Funding for this program is made available through the 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.