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.
To fulfill the farm to school mandate in the HHFKA, $5 million is provided to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on an annual basis to support grants, technical assistance, and the federal administrative costs related to USDA’s Farm to School Program.
This request for applications (RFA) provides additional details regarding the grants component of the USDA Farm to School Program.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is charged with implementing the Farm to School Program.
In this funding cycle, USDA anticipates awarding approximately $6 million in grant funding to support efforts that improve access to local foods in schools.
Beyond the $5 million in funding provided in the HHFKA, in fiscal year (FY) 2016 USDA anticipates the availability of an additional $1 million, subject to appropriation, in grant funding to support placement of volunteer service members (e.g.
AmeriCorps, VISTA, local service corps programs, etc.) in schools throughout the country to build or maintain school gardens, incorporate nutrition education into the schools’ culture, and support school food service personnel in procuring or promoting local and regional products for the school meal program.The Secretary of Agriculture was also directed through the HHFKA to ensure geographical diversity and equitable treatment of urban, rural, and tribal communities, as well as give the highest priority to funding projects that, as determined by the Secretary – (a) Make local food products available on the menu of the eligible school;(b) Serve a high proportion of children who are eligible for free or reduced price lunches;(c) Incorporate experiential nutrition education activities in curriculum planning that encourage the participation of school children in farm and garden-based activities; (d) Demonstrate collaboration between eligible schools, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, agricultural producer groups, and other community partners; (e) Include adequate and participatory evaluation plans;(f) Demonstrate the potential for long-term program sustainability; and,(g) Meet any other criteria that the Secretary determines appropriate.
Authorizing language also states that as a condition of receiving a USDA Farm to School Program Grant, each grant recipient shall provide matching support in the form of cash or in-kind contributions, and agree to cooperate in an evaluation of the program carried out using grant funds.