The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is looking for proposals for two new Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) grants that aim to increase local purchasing in Farm to School programs.
School districts across Minnesota could receive a total of $374,000 for purchasing Minnesota-grown and -raised foods used in school meal programs, through the MDA’s next round of AGRI Farm to School grants. School districts may apply for one of two grants:
• Farm to School Full Tray Grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have some Farm to School procurement experience.
• Farm to School First Bite Mini-Grant: Grants are intended for school districts that have little to no experience with local procurement as part of a Farm to School programing.
“These grants let us invest in schools and expand markets that support local farmers,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “Kids eat healthier, small farms have local buyers and our agricultural economy benefits. It’s a win for everybody.”
The First Bite grant is intended to be an intentional learning process for the applicant. Recipients in FY2021 will not be eligible for the First Bite grant in subsequent funding rounds. School districts may apply for a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $5,000. There is no match required.
The Full Tray grants will be awarded to school districts that have experience purchasing Minnesota grown and raised products but want to expand their Farm to School programs. Applicants may apply for up to $35,000 based on the district size. Grants require a one to one match.
Applications for AGRI Farm to School First Bite and Full Tray Grants must be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18.
Funding for this program is made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) program, which administers grants to farmers, agribusinesses, schools and more throughout the state of Minnesota.