In an effort to better connect schools with local food producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Farm to School Program grants to 71 projects spanning 42 states and Washington, D.C. The Indiana Department of Health received a $100,000 grant, reports, IDOH spokesman Ken Severson.
The grant will be used to
• Conduct strategic planning to expand and better support the Indiana Farm to School Network efforts;
• Assess school food service infrastructure and readiness to incorporate local products into school meal programs;
• Provide scholarships for small farmers and school food service staff to attend trainings that provide skills and information that support farm to school; and
• Host meet and greet events to create partnerships between school food service directors and local producers.
It will use the Hoosier Harvest Market as a test hub for facilitating the connection between farmers and local school systems.
“Support for Farm to School has been gaining momentum in Indiana,” said Dr. William VanNess, state health commissioner, “We knew it was important to meet farmers and school food service directors to learn who might be interested in farm to school activities. The response has been very positive.”
In Indiana, 231 out of 294 public school districts completed the USDA Farm to School Census and 357,590 children in attendance are actively engaged in Farm-to-School activities.
For more information, persons can visit visit www.StateHealth.in.gov.