How charter schools can take part in new farm grant program

Farm grant program
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Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration announced the launch of a new Farm to School Grant Program this week.

As part of the recent Pennsylvania Farm Bill, the new initiative was designed to “improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture education opportunities for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.” The Farm to School Grant Program will make $500,000 available for elementary schools to use in order to create partnerships with local food producers as well as to enhance education practices around health food.

The program is open to any school with pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, or elementary through fifth grade students, including charter schools, which can apply for grants worth up to $15,000.

In order to apply, institutions must submit a list of Pennsylvania based farmers who have agreed to supply their school with food products from their farm. Funds must also be used to integrate nutrition and agricultural education into the classroom, as well as train teachers and staff on these subjects.

The program stipulates that parents, caregivers and community groups must be included in these educational initiatives as well. Plus, schools who are apart of the program must organize field trips to Pennsylvania farms or similar agricultural experiences in order to educate students about where their food comes from.

Projects for the program must be completed by June 30, 2020, and the grants are set to be funded as reimbursement grants, with each school receiving no more than $15,000 annually.

Interested schools can apply for the grant from Nov. 9 to Dec. 30 at agriculture.pa.gov.

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