USDA Announces Grants to Schools

As part of their effort to promote local economic growth and encourage healthy eating habits, the US Department of Agriculture recently announced roughly $4.5 million in grants to schools across the country as part of their Farm to School Program.

Originally authorized in the 2010 Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, the Farm to School Program is similar in philosophy to other USDA programs like the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Campaign. For the last several years, the USDA has sought to increase ties between local consumers and producers and has sought to encourage communities to purchase locally.

The Farm to School grants will allow local school districts to purchase food for student lunches from local farmers, offering children more nutritious food options while simultaneously stimulating local economies.

“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan said in a statement. “Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer