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Farm to School grant process begins; webinar set for Oct. 17

October is national Farm to School Month, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking requests for Farm to School Program grants in fiscal year 2019.

Northern Elementary School head cook Jody Strowbridge shows Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Fredierickson their new walk in cooler that purchased through the 2014 Farm to School Grant on Tuesday afternoon. The commissioner was visiting the schools that received similiar grants that allow the use of more locally grown produce. (Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer)
Northern Elementary School head cook Jody Strowbridge shows Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson their new walk in cooler that purchased through the 2014 Farm to School Grant. The commissioner was visiting the schools that received similar grants that allow the use of more locally grown produce. Monte Draper / Forum News Service

October is national Farm to School Month, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking requests for Farm to School Program grants in fiscal year 2019.

Formally established in 2012, the Farm to School Program connects local schools and local farmers through training, research, equipment and other support.

This year, USDA will award as much as $7.5 million in grants through the program, $2 million than in the previous funding cycle, according to information from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Applicants will be expected to pay at least 25 percent of the project's cost, with the program picking up the rest.

Grant applications are divided into three categories, or competitive tracks: planning, implementation and training. Several types of applications will be given priority, including projects that reach more than one school or that serve a high proportion of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

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USDA estimates that awards will be made in May.

Proposal for the 2019 grant programs are due by Dec. 4. More information about the application process here .

USDA will hold an informational webinar on the program at 1 p.m. EST Oct. 17. Register for the hour-long webinar here .

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