[image: Header Press Release]

Release No. 0024.14


USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

USDA Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Farm to School Grants to Continue Efforts
to Increase Local Foods in Eligible Schools

*National Program Continues to Increase Access to Local Foods in Schools
and Provide New Economic Opportunities for a Variety of Producers*

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 19, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today
announced the release of a request for applications for the third round of
USDA's Farm to School<>
including the addition of a new funding track. These grants help eligible
schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with
local agricultural producers.

"Connecting American farmers and ranchers with the National School Lunch
Program provides schoolchildren with daily access to locally sourced,
healthy foods," said Vilsack. "These Farm to School grants will help
schools respond to the growing demand for local foods and increase market
opportunities for many types of food producers."

Three different kinds of grants will be available, as well as a separate
funding track to support trainings and events. Planning grants are intended
for schools just getting started on farm to school activities.
Implementation grants are available for schools seeking to augment or
expand existing efforts. Additionally, eligible non-profit entities, Indian
tribal organizations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers
or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to
conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop
supply chains, among other activities. Proposals are due at 11:59 p.m. EST,
April 30, 2014.

New in FY 2015, USDA funds will be made available to support meetings,
trainings, and events intended to strengthen farm to school supply chains
or provide technical assistance. The Training and Event funds range from
$15,000 - $50,000. USDA expects to distribute approximately $500,000 in
additional funds to support at least one statewide or regional meeting in
all seven FNS regions and at least one national conference. Letters of
Intent are due at 11:59 p.m. EST, April 2, 2014.

To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a series
of webinars related to the application process:

   - March 11, 2014, 1:00 EST - Planning Grants
   - March 12, 2014, 1:00 EST - Implementation Grants
   - March 13, 2014, 1:00 EST - Support Service Grants
   - March 14, 2014, 1:00 EST - Training and Event Funding Track

The Farm to School Grant Program is a cornerstone of USDA's Know Your
Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department's work
on local and regional foods. The grant program was initiated by the
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which authorized and funded USDA 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 Act provides $5 million annually to support grants,
technical assistance, and the federal administrative costs related to
USDA's Farm to School Program. In this funding cycle, USDA anticipates
awarding up to $5 million in HHFKA grant funding and an additional $500,000
in program funds to support training and events.

USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to
make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and
advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food. Data show that
the vast majority of schools around the country are successfully meeting
the new meal standards<>

   - Last month, USDA awarded $11 million in grants to help schools
   purchase needed equipment to make preparing and serving healthier meals
   easier and more efficient for hardworking school food service professionals.
   - USDA awarded $5.6 million in grants in FY2013 to provide training and
   technical assistance for child nutrition foodservice professionals and
   support stronger school nutrition education programs, and plans to award
   additional grants in FY 2014.
   - USDA's MyPlate symbol and the resources at<>
   - provide quick, easy reference tools for teachers, parents, healthcare
   professionals and communities. Schools across the country are using the
   MyPlate symbol to enhance their nutrition education efforts.

Collectively, these policies and actions will help combat child hunger and
obesity and improve the health and nutrition of the nation's children. This
is a top priority for the Obama Administration and is an important
component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to combat
the challenge of childhood obesity.


John Allen Bailey
GYFA Executive Secretary
101 North Main St., Rm. 317
Swainsboro, GA  30401