ALBANY — New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced that $1.5 million is now available for eligible school districts to support the growth of Farm-to-School programs across New York State. The program helps kindergarten through grade 12 schools connect with local farmers, increase the use of locally grown food on school menus, and improve student health, while providing increased economic benefits to New York’s farmers.

Commissioner Ball said, “The Farm-to-School Program is a great way to ensure New York’s students have access to fresh, healthy foods and they understand where their meals come from. I’m proud that this program continues to help schools tap into the local food movement and serve more healthy lunches with products either grown in their school garden or purchased from their community farmers. This is a win-win for our agricultural industry and for our state’s future leaders.”

Applicants eligible for Round 6 of the Farm-to-School program include kindergarten through grade 12 school food authorities, public schools, charter schools, not-for-profit schools, and other entities participating in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, or the Summer Food Service Program. Not-for-profit entities working with school food authorities and eligible schools are also able to apply, and projects that partner with producers and food processors are encouraged. The State is seeking proposals that will increase the capacity of schools to procure and serve New York State farm products in school meal programs.

Grant funding of up to $100,000 per project will be awarded for proposals including, but not limited to: employing a local or regional farm-to-school coordinator; training for food service staff to increase knowledge of local procurement and preparation of locally produced food; purchasing equipment needed to increase capacity of school kitchen and food service staff to prepare and serve locally produced food; completing capital improvements to support the transport and/or storage of locally produced food; and creating new food products for the menu.

Up to $500,000 of the funds will be earmarked for applicants that have not received a Farm-to-School award in previous rounds.

All applicants to Round 6 of the Farm-to-School Program must register and apply through Grants Gateway. Proposals must be received by December 30, 2021 by 4:00 pm. For more information, visit https://agriculture.ny.gov/farming/rfp-0265-new-york-state-farm-school-program-2022 or contact Emily Cook at FarmToSchool@agriculture.ny.gov.

Since the launch of the Farm-to-School Program in 2015, $6.8 million has been committed to support Farm-to-School projects across the state. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has awarded a total of 119 projects, benefiting hundreds of school districts in every region in the state.

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