Lunches in several Minnesota schools are receiving a local flavor by using produce grown in the community as part of the Farm to Schools program.
A second round of grants, through the Agricultural Growth
Research and Innovation Fund, could bring the program to more Twin Cities
Thirteen school districts in Minnesota received about
$227,000 in grant funding through the Farm To Schools program in 2012. The
funds were used to “buy produce from local farmers and to offset the costs of
purchasing new equipment necessary to prepare, serve and preserve more
Minnesota grown foods,” according to the Minnesota
Department of Education.
Commissioners from the Minnesota Departments of Education,
Agriculture and Health visited two of the schools, Hopkins
West Junior High and Roosevelt
High School in Minneapolis, last week to see the program in action. Other
schools awarded grants in 2012 included District
191 Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, Upper
Mississippi Academy School District in Big Lake, Saint Paul Public Schools and several school
districts in greater Minnesota.
“Nutritious eating habits are learned, and it is exciting to
see so many schools embracing farm fresh produce in their kitchens,” said Education
Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.
A second round of Farm to
School grants was announced Sept. 20 by the Minnesota Department of
Agriculture. Schools interested in learning more about the Farm to School Grant
Program and application details can find information on the MDA website
The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2013.
“Farm to School keeps dollars in the local economy, and
creates jobs,” said Agriculture
Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “When schools and students connect with
rural family farmers, urban growers and multicultural farmers markets, everyone
In addition to the grants being offered by MDA, Blue Cross and Blue
Shield of Minnesota provided $117,000 in matching funds last year, and has
committed up to $125,000 for the next round of grants.
Video above: Commissioners from the Minnesota Departments of Education, Agriculture and Health at Hopkins West Junior High. (Credit: James Warden)