School Funding

USDA awards more than $70 million in grants and improves access to local, healthy foods for children

Washington, DC, July 25, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it is awarding more than $10 million in farm-to-school grants to 123 projects across the country. Additionally, for the first time, the department is providing states with $60 million in non-competitive grants to develop stronger, sustainable farm-to-school programs over the next four years. These two actions will help more children across the country eat healthy, home-grown food.

Farm to School increases the amount of locally produced food served through children’s nutrition programs, while educating children about how their food is harvested and made. Various infant nutrition operators can participate from farm to school, from states and tribal nations to schools and community organizations.

“Farm to School’s expansion is more important than ever for our children,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “When schools and local producers work together, children get better quality food on their plates and program operators have stable sources for the produce they need.” Vilsack added that Farm to School is an investment in the next generation and one of the many ways the department is advancing nutrition security – consistent and equitable access to healthy, affordable foods that support well- be.

The 123 projects funded by the FY2022 competitive grants will serve more than 3 million children in more than 5,000 schools across 44 States and the District of Columbia. Additionally, the USDA recognizes that many people have been historically underserved and marginalized by unjust food systems. The projects selected by the department reflect its commitment to transforming food systems to be more equitable through Farm to School:

  • An estimated 62% of students served by these projects are entitled to free and reduced-price school meals.
  • 40% of projects serve rural areas or economically disadvantaged areas.
  • Nearly 30% of organizations are led by Black, Indigenous and People of Color, with projects serving those same communities.
  • Seven projects are Tribal Nations serving Native American communities.

Since the USDA’s Farm to School program was established in 2013, the department has awarded nearly $75 million in Farm to School grants, funding more than 1,000 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands US, Guam and Puerto Rico. These projects have reached more than 25 million students in nearly 60,000 schools. For more information on how your community can get involved in Farm to School activities, please visit the SNSF website.

Additionally, as announced last month, the department’s $60 million non-competitive grants to states will enable them to better support program operators to purchase and use more local foods in meals for children between financial years 2023-2026. The resources will also help expand agricultural education for children. More information on fund distribution will be available soon.

“States and school districts with strong Farm to School programs have been more resilient to recent supply chain disruptions, compared to operators lacking relationships with local growers,” said Stacy Dean, undersecretary assistant for food, nutrition and consumer services. “The Farm to School program deserves to be at the forefront of long-term solutions that farmers can rely on to ensure that nutritious local produce is always at their fingertips.

When schools source locally, they support American farmers and strengthen the economy. The USDA surveyed school food authorities nationwide in 2019 Farm to School Census. According to the findings, in the 2018-19 school year, school districts purchased nearly $1.3 billion in local fruits, vegetables and other foods, totaling about 20% of all school food purchases.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the U.S. food system by placing greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy, nutritious foods in all communities, creating new markets and new sources of income for farmers and climate-using producers. smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce work most representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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