Farm to School Grant Program

The Farm to School program exists in order to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.

The program has three tracks: planning, implementation and support service.

grants are for schools or school districts just getting started on farm to school activities and are intended to help these entities organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by embedding known best practices into early design considerations.

•Implementation grants are intended to help schools or school districts to help scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.

•Support Service grants are intended for state and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers, and non-profit entities working with schools or school districts to further develop and provide broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.
Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2012: n/a.

Fiscal Year 2013: Planning Grant: Lynwood Unified School District (USD), Lynwood, California, $24,294; Lynwood USD is in the initial stages of farm to school planning.

The district has begun to undertake measures to improve overall health of its students by incorporating salad bars into all the elementary schools.

The district has embarked on many activities to increase awareness of food quality, nutrition, and origin among students, parents, and community.

The next step in this plan is to continue to impress the importance of local food procurement on educators and other stakeholders by giving the district an opportunity to create a concrete plan for changing procurement strategy and nutrition education curriculum to reflect the importance of consuming locally.

Implementation Grant: Fayetteville School District #1, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 99,058
The proposed project will build on Fayetteville Public Schools (FPS) past experience and existing community partnerships to develop a comprehensive farm to school program that will have dual health/wellness and economic prosperity impacts.

The program will increase farm to school awareness through educational events, experiential learning, and curriculum integration while simultaneously integrating activities related to sourcing local and regional foods into everyday workflows and meal preparation by food service staff.

The program will provide culinary training and improve food processing capacity to ensure local products are utilized in school menus throughout the academic year on a regular basis.

The program will also provide educational and networking opportunities for existing and future producers.

Fiscal Year 2014: n/a.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2012: n/a. Fiscal Year 2013: Awarded 32 planning project and 36 implementation project awards in FY 2013. Visit the program website for an overview of all 68 projects, including funding amount, location, grantee type and project narrative: Fiscal Year 2014: n/a.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Assistance in improving access to local foods in eligible schools can take the form of: (i) Training; ii) Supporting operations; (iii) Planning; (iv) Purchasing equipment; (v) Developing school gardens; (vi) Developing partnerships; and (vii) Implementing farm to school programs.

No more than 10 percent of the grant funds may be used for food purchases in the grant budget.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Assistance will be used to increase the availability of local foods in schools.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligible entities, and therefore beneficiaries, include schools, Indian Tribal Organizations, non profit organizations, schools, producer and producer groups and State and local agencies.


Non profit organizations will be required to submit proof of non profit status. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. OMB Circular No. A-110 applies to this program. Not applicable.

Award Procedures

All applications that meet the published deadline for submission will be screened for completeness and conformity to the requirements as announced in the RFA package. Grants are awarded by a competitive process via a review panel composed of FNS and other Federal staff that will determine the technical merit of each grant application, provide a numerical score, and make recommendations to selecting officials.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) amended Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) to establish a Farm to School program in order to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. , Section 243. , Section 243.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 30 to 60 days. There is presently no other approval information.


From 30 to 60 days.


There is no additional renewals information at this time.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 25.%. The applicant must provide at least 25 percent of the costs of the grant project as the federal share of costs for this grant cannot exceed 75 percent of the total cost of the project.
This program does not have MOE requirements. No additional information is available at this time.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Planning grants will be awarded for a one year time period, with an expected start date at/or near the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1). Implementation and support service grants will be awarded for up to a two year time period, with an expected start date at/or near the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1). Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


No program reports are required.

No cash reports are required.

Grant recipients are responsible for managing and monitoring the progress of the grant project activities and performance.

Planning grant awardees will submit a mid-term progress report and a final report.

Implementation grant awardees will submit progress reports on a quarterly basis throughout the grant term and a final report.

The award document will indicate the reporting format and schedule for submitting project performance/progress reports to FNS.

Planning grant awardees will submit a mid-term financial report and a final financial report.

Implementation grant awardees will submit financial reports on a quarterly basis throughout the grant term and a financial report.

As a condition of receiving a grant, grant recipients shall agree to cooperate in an evaluation of the program carried out using grant funds.

Upon selection of grant awardees, USDA will provide further guidance and direction regarding evaluation protocols and common indicators.

Applicants should expect that evaluation protocols will include both process evaluations (qualitative and quantitative indicators of progress toward the objectives, accomplishment of activities) and outcome evaluations (to determine whether the objectives were met and what impact they had).


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. The single Audit process and compliance supplement.


The grantee must maintain records in accordance with the grant agreement. Such records must be retained for a period of three years after the date of submission of the final report for the fiscal year to which the records pertain.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Salaries) FY 12 $0; FY 13 est $5,000,000; and FY 14 est $5,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Planning grants will range from $35,000 - $50,000 while Implementation and support service grants will range from $65,000 - $100,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Matthew E. Russell 1400 Independece Ave., Washington, District of Columbia 29815 Email: Phone: (202) 720-6765

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Criteria for selecting proposals is detailed in the RFA and includes degree to which the project serves a school or school district with a high percentage of free and reduced price meal enrollment; need, readiness and likelihood of sucess; alignment with farm to school program goals; project design and management; sustainability and transferability; and appropriateness of budget plan.

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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