The Mountain Times

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$75K to be granted to farm-to-school programs

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture has announced $75,000 of available funding for Vermont schools interested in farm-to-school programing. Any school, consortium of schools, or school district interested is encouraged to apply for this for this funding.

The state of Vermont has appropriated nearly $700,000 over the past six years to support farm-to-school programming in Vermont schools. Since its creation, the Vermont farm-to-school grant program has awarded 62 schools throughout the state with funds to support the integration local foods in school cafeterias, classrooms and communities.

Vermont is a nationally recognized leader in farm-to-school curriculum, connecting students to agriculture via the "3 C's" - classroom, cafeteria and community. Vermont's model has been replicated in other states, and has been referenced by the USDA for best practices in farm-to-school programming.

"Farm-to-school programs throughout our state are teaching our students to eat healthy and make connections with their local farmers, while also opening new markets for Vermont farmers," said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross. "This is a great opportunity to try out a new marketing effort, build or pilot new relationships, and teach kids about Vermont agriculture."

The program encourages schools and school districts to serve food to Vermont students that are as fresh and nutritious as possible.

"These farm-to-school grants give schools what they need to focus on developing sound and sustainable farm-to-school programs. By connecting the classrooms, the cafeteria, and the community it is possible to change school food culture," said Abbie Nelson, Director of Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day).

This grant program is made possible by collaboration between the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Agency of Education, Department of Health, VT FEED (Food Education Every Day) and the Vermont Farm to School Network.

For more info visit the Agency of Agriculture's website
http://agriculture.vermont.gov/producer_partner_resources/funding_opportunities/vaafm_funding/farm_to_school/apply
All VT farm-to-school program applications must be received by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25.