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Thursday, October 19, 2017




Minnesota Farm to School and Early Care and Education Grants (due: Nov. 16)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will make Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants available for K-12 institutions and early care and education organizations. The MDA has sample grants available to support you in applying.

Jackie Kanthak from Alice Smith Elementary in Hopkins makes sauce from local tomatoes using a commercial immersion blender funded by the AGRI Farm to School Grant program.
Jackie Kanthak from Alice Smith Elementary in Hopkins makes sauce from local tomatoes using a commercial immersion blender funded by the AGRI Farm to School Grant program.

The MDA will award up to $400,000 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota grown and raised foods through planning grants or equipment purchases and physical improvements. AGRI Farm to School Grants have assisted schools and early care and education organizations purchase food processors, cooling and storage equipment, and specialized ovens to make it easier to serve Minnesota grown produce, meat and dairy. Past grantees have utilized planning grant funds to develop their Farm to School programs by connecting with farmers in their area, determining how seasonal produce fits into menu cycles and creating processes to use local foods in infant foods at early care settings.

Apply for a grant. Applications for AGRI Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. CST on November 16, 2017. The request for proposals and instructions can be found online at: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/grants/mnfarmtoschool.aspx

USDA Farm to School Grant (Due Dec. 8)

The USDA Office of Community Food Systems has released the FY 2018 Farm to School Request for Applications (RFA). The National Farm to School Network is available on a consultation basis to provide assistance to potential applicants in the areas of: planning and preparing the application, customized support for Native communities, evaluation, and focus on early care and education/pre-K. [link no longer available]

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2017. Check out the resources for applicants and see a list of awardees since the release of the first RFA in 2013. More information about the grants is available here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Welcome!


Minnesota’s Farm to School Leadership Team is excited to launch a quarterly newsletter to strengthen our statewide network. The newsletter is intended for all farm to school stakeholders — whether you are a foodservice professional, a farmer, a teacher or a food-loving family, we hope you find a helpful morsel or two in every newsletter.

Our success depends on you. We encourage you to tap into the network for resources and support, and tell us what would be helpful to see each quarter. We look forward to connecting, celebrating, and highlighting the many farm to school initiatives happening across our state! Contact us anytime at farmtoschool@umn.edu to share your ideas, feedback, and questions.


Farm To School Month

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections that are happening all over the country between schools and local food. To learn more, visit Farm to School Month website.



October 5 — Serve local on Minnesota Thursday!

Join schools across the state and the region on Oct. 5 by featuring a lunch tray that provides students a first-hand look at some local and regional foods. Learn more and register.

October 12 — Get your crunch on!

Sign up to participate in the Fourth Annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch. This is a simple way to feature your Farm to School work in a loud way. At noon on Oct. 12, students, staff and other stakeholders from across the Great Lakes region will bite into a healthy, delicious, local apple.

AGRI Farm to School Grants

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will again make Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants available for schools and early care and education organizations. The MDA will award up to $400,000 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota grown and raised foods through planning grants, or equipment purchases and physical improvements.

smiling women scoops creamy ravioli filling
Barb Schank from Waconia Public Schools prepares stuffing for homemade ravioli using their new pasta machine funded by the AGRI Farm to School Grant program.

New Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food

Minnesota has a NEW Toolkit for Direct Purchasing of Local Food, created from the early experiences and success of Rippleside Elementary in Aitkin County. This toolkit is intended for use by school districts, as well as other types of food service, for procurement of local food directly from farmers.

Minnesota School Nutrition Association Conference Recap

Over 850 school food service professionals attended the Minnesota School Nutrition Association Conference in Duluth last month, where everyone had the opportunity to learn about how to get involved in Farm to School.

two woman pose with a Apple Crunch frame and an apple
Vicki Spetlz and Lori LaBrec from Lewiston Altura crunch into an apple during the 2017 MSNA conference.
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