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News & Action Items: Grants & Scholarships

USDA Gives Out $12.1 Million in Largest-Ever Farm to School Grant Awards

Wednesday, July 1, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hillari Wennerstrom

USDA awards a record $12.1 million in Farm to School Grants to support 159 projects, including 2 in RI and 5 in MA, serving over 7,610 schools and 2.5 million students, more than half of whom are eligible for free or reduced priced meals. This is the most grantees and the most total money awarded in one year since the grant program’s inception in 2013.  The grants announced today will connect kids with where their food comes from, nourish the local economy and support American agriculture. Read national press release via this link

In MA, the grantees are:

Ascentria Community Services, SNAP-education Program - $37,334

Worcester, Massachusetts

Grant Type: Planning

Ascentria Community Service, Inc.’s (Ascentria) SNAP-Education Program (SNAP-Ed), in collaboration with West Springfield Public Schools (WSPS) will develop a comprehensive action plan to expand farm to school initiatives for three piloting school sites. Ascentria’s SNAP-Ed staff will work with WSPS and community stakeholders to establish a farm to school leadership committee that will oversee this project and determine best practices for developing a sustainable farm to school program. Strategies to be incorporated into the resulting action plan will aim to increase student engagement in nutrition and school garden-based learning opportunities, develop a school compost and food-waste reduction pilot program, and increase the availability of locally grown foods in school cafeterias.


Codman Square Health Center - $96,883

Dorchester, Massachusetts

Grant Type: Implementation

Codman Academy Charter Public School will enhance, expand and deepen the Farm to School planning efforts for a replicable, sustainable and impactful nutritious food service program. The project will also be socially just, environmentally and financially sustainable, increase local procurement efforts and agricultural education implementation for students. The project will also include agriculture lessons, garden building, and connection with the local and regional food producers. By structuring the program with current and existing vendors and partners and approaching it by school semester, the project plan to continually increase the procurement efforts in the kitchen and maintain the indoor and outdoor school gardens throughout the season, with professional guidance and supervision. With established co-located partners including the Codman Square Health Center, Daily Table grocery store and Green City Growers, Holly Hill Farm, Urban Farming Institute and Oasis on Ballou, the project will strengthen the network of support for the program.


Regional Environmental Council, Inc. - $91,656

Worcester, Massachusetts

Grant Type: Implementation

The Regional Environmental Council will support agricultural education efforts at North High School, Vernon Street School, and May Street School. Working with three Worcester public schools and three identified, committed, and geographically proximate community partner organizations, REC will 1) Develop a replicable partnership model which will increase the sustainability of existing school gardens by creating structured programs for summer maintenance, 2) Increase student exposure to farm activities and build student/parent knowledge of local food resources through field trips to local urban farm sites and visits from the Mobile Farmers Market, and 3) Expand experiential learning opportunities by working in collaboration with teachers, administrators, and parents to develop and implement grade level specific integrated curriculum for each school site to ensure sustainable long term integration of the school garden into the culture of the school.


Somerville Public Schools - $50,000

Somerville, Massachusetts

Grant Type: Planning

The Somerville Public Schools (SPS) Food Service Department works diligently to provide good food inspiration and education so that Somerville’s youth can eat well all day long -both in school

and at home. SPS will ultimately benefit nearly 5,000 students in a richly diverse community. The project will continue building the Farm to School system. In addition, the project will create a Farm to School Planning team to create an action plan. The planning team will include district and department staff member from communications, wellness and food service departments and member of key partner organizations, such as Shape Up Somerville, Groundwork Somerville, and Drumlin Farms.

Third Sector New England - $71,941

Boston, Massachusetts

Grant Type: Implementation

Massachusetts Farm to School will work with the MA Department of Agricultural Resources to increase local foods sourcing and education at schools by establishing a Commonwealth Quality School Garden Food Safety program and conducting trainings for school personnel. Additionally, the project will work with the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project to train new farmers and utilize their existing food hub to grow, aggregate and deliver produce to schools in Northeastern Massachusetts.


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