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Window open for farm-to-school grant program

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced on May 3 that Pennsylvania’s Farm-to-School Grant program is offering schools and childhood centers to apply for up to $15,000 for eligible projects.

This program, funded by Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget, support healthy eating habits and future careers in agriculture, according to a news release.

To date, more than $2.6 million has been awarded to 237 projects across 50 counties.

Eligible applicants include school districts, charter schools, private schools, or centers with prekindergarten through eighth grade that participates in the Federal Child Nutrition Program.

Funded projects can involve partnering with local farmers to source fresh produce or building and improving school gardens, with the goal of incorporating hands-on educational activities about agriculture and encouraging healthy eating.

“The Pa. Farm Bill’s Farm to School grant has made it possible for hundreds of schools across the Commonwealth to enhance and strengthen their farm to school programs,” said Samantha Gibb, senior associate at The Food Trust and Coordinator for the PA Farm to School Network. “School food service professionals are able to procure local food to serve in school meals from farmers in their area for the first time - opening up valuable market opportunities for Pennsylvania growers. Educators are able to provide kids with hand-on experiences in school gardens, through in-classroom taste tests and taking kids on farm field trips.”

Grant applications must be submitted online through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application.

Applications are due by 4 p.m. on June 7.

Grant guidelines are published in the April 27 edition of the PA Bulletin.

Visit the Farm-to-School Network Dashboard, built in collaboration with Saint Joseph’s University, to learn about the programs that have already been implemented across the Commonwealth.

Find information at agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.