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Secretary of Agriculture announces grants to help schools buy local

This past Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the recipients of the USDA Farm to School Grants. Two of the 82 projects will be lead by Minnesota communities. The descriptions below are from the complete list of FY2015 Farm to School grant recipientsThe demand for these grants is about five times higher than the funds available each year, so they are highly competitive. We will look forward to following the work of the two Minnesota grant recipients over the coming year.

Congratulations to the Community Health Board in northeast Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools!

Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis County Community Health Board

Duluth, Minnesota
Grant Amount: $99,750
The Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis County Community Health Board has distributed funding for farm to school as part of its strategy for the prevention of chronic disease through healthy eating since 2009. It is within these counties of the Western Lake Superior region that two school districts and Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (ELC) aim to collaborate, educate, and secure equipment that leverages existing farm to school programs and partnerships. This project will consolidate efforts to advance farm to school policy, systems and environmental change in our region through district-to-district and Wolf Ridge ELC collaboration. It will provide educational facilitation to bring agriculture home for our K-12 students. This project will help make efficient and safe the processes by which we bring local produce into our cafeterias with equipment and a two-year logistics operation to identify relationships between these institutions, Superior Grown producers, and workers along the supply chain.

Minneapolis Public Schools, Special School District No. 1

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Grant Amount: $87,816
The proposed “Minnesota Thursdays!” project of Minneapolis Public Schools is a fully-integrated, student-driven campaign to expand the district's local procurement and to assure that the community, students, staff, families, and partners know their farmers and know their food. The project will expand local options in school meals and include a coordinated, clear promotional campaign developed by Minneapolis Public Schools students.

Read the full press release here: USDA Announces New Support to Help Schools Purchase More Food from Local Farmers

Find resources for farm to school practices in Minnesota here: University of Minnesota Farm to School
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