* Deadline Extended to August 28, 2020 *

The AGRI Farm to School Rapid Response Grant for Schools provides financial assistance to school districts to begin, diversify, and expand purchasing from Minnesota producers during the COVID-19 pandemic (summer and fall of 2020).

Eligible Applicants

  • Schools or school districts (public or private) that:
    • Participate in the National School Lunch Program, and
    • Serve food to K-12 students
  • Food service management companies that sell to these schools (if the value of the grant is credited to the school)

We encourage farmers and local food vendors to apply for the AGRI Farm to School Rapid Response Grant for Food Vendors.

Eligible Projects

These funds must be used to begin, diversify, or increase purchases directly from Minnesota producers or from Minnesota producers via distributors and food hubs. Examples of eligible purchases include:

  • Beginning: purchasing Minnesota apples for the first time to include in grab-and-go meals or home deliveries
  • Diversifying: adding new or additional Minnesota farmers or introducing a new product to your local sourcing
  • Increasing: increasing the dollar value of a Minnesota product to use in school meals

We encourage you to source directly from Emerging Farmers, including women, immigrant farmers, and farmers of color, or work with distributors, restaurants, and food hubs that source from Emerging Farmers. Priority will be given to reimbursements for unprocessed or minimally-processed agricultural projects – see the Request for Proposals for more information.

If your project is approved, grant funds must be spent between July 1 and December 31, 2020.

Amount Available

We expect to award up to $174,000 to build Farm to School capacity in Minnesota through this grant for schools and the grant for vendors. Funding for these two programs comes from the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program (Minnesota Statute 41A.12).

  • Schools may apply for $1,000 to $5,000, with no required match.
  • We ask that you only request the amount of funding you think you can spend within the grant period.

Applying

We will accept applications until 4:00 p.m. CDT on August 28, 2020, or until all funds are gone, whichever is first.
(As of August 13, 2020, we estimate that $20,000 is still available.)

Apply through our online application system.

Read the Request for Proposals (PDF) for all eligibility and requirements. If you have questions or need this information in an alternative format, please contact the program administrator, Lisa Sawyer.

When applying, you don’t have to list a specific source, but let us know how you will identify and source local foods. You’re encouraged to get letters from producers and/or food vendors to support your application.

We will review applications on a biweekly basis, prioritizing those that create market opportunity and relationships for Emerging Farmers. It may take two to six weeks for us to notify you of your application status. We will update the availability of funds biweekly on our website.

Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions and answers about this grant. If you have additional questions, please email Lisa Sawyer and we will post the answers here. 

Yes. The farmer(s) would need to provide you with an itemized receipt and other grant reporting requirements.

Yes, your school is eligible to apply. Schools that serve substantially Kindergarteners and older students and participate in NSLP are eligible. However, programs/organizations that predominantly or only serve the early care age group are not eligible.

The Minnesota Grown directory is a good resource for finding local food vendors.

We are not aware of a list of Emerging Farmers in the State. Applicants will need to research what resources are available in their service area.