Pennsylvania announced they the commonwealth has received a new round of funding for the Farm to School Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Harrisburg, PA | On Friday, Aug. 26, The Pennsylvania Departments of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) announced over $222,000 in new funding for the Farm to School Grant Program. The program, which is operated in part by the USDA, allows the commonwealth to implement services to improve students’ access to nutritious, local foods. Through this funding, PDE will gather information related to local food purchasing incentives by speaking with leaders in states that have these types of child nutrition programs established and will gather input from Pennsylvanians on how this type of program would be designed.
“When students learn where their food comes from, it feeds their minds and feeds our economy,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “USDA Farm to School grants help students make connections that not only change their eating habits and their family’s eating habits for life, but can inspire careers in agriculture, where there will be real job opportunities when they graduate.”
The funding will also allow for two regional Farm to School convenings, one in eastern Pennsylvania and one in western Pennsylvania. The program is intended to improve students’ access to fresh, local foods and foster economic opportunity for farmers.
“PDE is thrilled to be chosen as a recipient of USDA’s Farm to School state agency grant. Promoting healthy eating habits and the use of fresh, local foods is just one way we can continue to build upon child nutrition efforts,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “This grant will help PDE expand programs and host regional farm-to-child nutrition gatherings. We thank USDA for its continued support in our efforts to make sure that youth across the commonwealth have the healthy foods they need to grow and learn.”
About Farm To School Grants
Farm to School grants are designed to increase the availability of local foods in schools and can help farm-to-school programs get started or expand their existing efforts. These funds support a wide range of activities and include entities such as schools and districts, non-profits, and state and local agencies. This year is the tenth year in a row that organizations in Pennsylvania have received a grant since they were first awarded in 2013. The grant will also help to expand the statewide PA Harvest of the Month program (PA HOM)
Four other organizations across the commonwealth also received FY22 Farm to School grants, including Weavers Way Community Programs d/b/a Food Moxie (Philadelphia), the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry, and Tourism (Oil City), the Manchester Academic Charter School (Pittsburgh), and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). Reaching youth ages Pre-K through high school, these organizations’ unique projects will have a lasting impact on the communities they serve.