Farm to School Grant Funding Available

10/2/2012

Montpelier, Vt.-The Vermont Agency of Agriculture has two matching state grant programs available for 2013, with $75,000 available to Vermont schools through the Farm to School Grant program, as well as $40,000 available to agricultural producers and food hubs serving institutional markets through the Local Food Market Development Grant program.
 
Any school, consortium of schools, or school district interested in a Farm to School grant or producer, food-focused group, or food hub interested in a Local Food Market Development grant can find more information and download applications at www.vermontagriculture.com.
 
VT Farm to School Program
All applications must be received by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24, 2012.
 
The state of Vermont has appropriated nearly $700,000 over the past six years to support Farm to School programming in Vermont schools. Since its creation, the Vermont Farm to School grant program has awarded 54 schools throughout the state with funds to support the integration of local foods into school cafeterias, classrooms and communities. "Farm to School programs throughout our state are teaching our students how to eat healthy, while also making a connection with their local farmer," said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross.
 
The program encourages schools and school districts to serve food to Vermont students that is as fresh and nutritious as possible. "It's about changing the school food culture. But when you get in there and make that connection, the kids realize they really do like beets," said Abbie Nelson, director of Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day).
 
This grant program is made possible by collaboration between the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Health, VT FEED and the Vermont Farm to School Network.
 
Local Food Market Development Grant Program
All applications must be received by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, October 19, 2012.

This program encourages local food market development opportunities with an institutional focus across the state.  Project proposals are being accepted, of up to $7,500, from Vermont farmers, producer groups, food community groups, and food hubs to further institutional market development.

Local Food Market Development Grant Program funds, appropriated by the state of Vermont, are intended to increase Vermont producers' access to institutional markets and to increase the quantity of local food available in Vermont institutions. Vermont institutions are defined as: colleges and universities, K-12 schools, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities, grocery stores and retail food co-ops. Grants will be distributed, through a competitive application review process, to agricultural producers, producer groups, food-focused community groups, and food hubs. 

Funds are eligible to support infrastructure development (on-farm capital improvements, equipment purchases) and market access and development (coordination of matchmaking events, development and production of marketing materials, targeted outreach to secure institutional markets).

For more information about the Farm to School Grant program, contact Koi Boynton at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at 802-828-2084 or koi.boynton@state.vt.us. For more information about the Local Food Market Development Grant program, contact Abbey Willard at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at 802-828-3829 or abbey.willard@state.vt.us.