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$1.5M Available to Expand NY’s Farm-to-School Programs


$1.5 million is now available to expand farm-to-school programs across New York State. According to New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball, New York’s Farm-to-School Grant Program helps kindergarten through grade 12 schools increase the use of locally grown food on school menus, enhancing nutrition for students while providing an economic benefit to New York’s farmers. A portion of the funding, $300,000, will be dedicated to applicants who have not received an award in previous rounds of the program.

Applicants eligible for Round 8 of the Farm-to-School Grant Program include kindergarten through grade 12 school food authorities, charter schools, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian tribal organizations.

Grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 will be awarded for projects that focus on increasing the amount and variety of New York State farm products in school meal programs, which includes school lunch, school breakfast, school snacks, and/or summer meal programs. Eligible costs include:

  • contractor services;
  • staff training;
  • food for menu development and taste-tests;
  • transportation costs (including the leasing of a vehicle for a two-year period or purchasing of vehicle);
  • supplies and equipment;
  • permanent physical/structural improvements;
  • insurance and permits (excluding permit to operate a farmers’ market at proposed location); and
  • salaries and wages including fringe benefits.

Applicants can view the request for proposals (RFP) on the Department’s website at agriculture.ny.gov/rfp-0336-new-york-state-farm-school-grant-program. Proposals must be received by June 27, 2024, at 4:00 pm. For more information, contact Courtney Bailey at [email protected].

Since the launch of the Farm-to-School Program in 2015, $8 million has been committed to support Farm-to-School projects across the state. Including non-competitive awards during the pandemic that were given to all schools that reached a 30% threshold of New York-sourced ingredients, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has awarded a total of 139 projects, benefiting hundreds of school districts in every region in the state.

Commissioner Ball said, “New York State’s Farm-to-School program helps schools overcome some of the challenges they may face in sourcing products locally, and makes it easier for them to increase the use of New York-grown foods straight from the farm. The funding available today will help to ensure that our students have access to fresh, healthy foods, increase students’ understanding of where their meals come from, and benefit our local agricultural economies statewide. I’m excited to see these projects come to fruition and look forward to continued connections between New York’s schools and farmers moving forward.”

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Providing students with healthy, locally sourced meals is one of the best investments we can make in their development while delivering powerful economic drivers for New York farm businesses. I’m excited that new funding is available to expand New York’s Farm-to-School program statewide, including support for schools starting their first-ever programs. We encourage all eligible schools to apply!”

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