The Department of Agriculture is investing $12 million in Farm to School Grants this year, announcing awards to 176 grantees, the most projects funded since the program began in 2013. The department is also releasing new data demonstrating the recent growth of farm-to-school efforts nationwide. Nearly two-thirds of school districts and/or local entities responsible for school meals participated in farm-to-school activities during school year 2018-2019, more than half of which began within the past three years.
In school year 2018-2019, school districts purchased nearly $1.3 billion in local fruits, vegetables, and other foods, totaling approximately 20 percent of all school food purchases. This year’s Farm to School Grants will help expand the access to fresh, local foods and hands-on agricultural learning for children across 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “Not only will this give children more nutritious food options in school, it supports local agriculture economies.”