The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now taking applications for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants. The MDA will award up to $377,500 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota grown and raised foods through planning and feasibility studies, or equipment purchases and physical improvements.
“These grants serve two purposes: we are able to invest in schools and early care and education organizations, and we can expand markets that support local farmers,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Communities across Minnesota are better off thanks to these AGRI grants and the opportunities they create.”
In previous grant rounds, the highly competitive AGRI Farm to School Grants helped schools and early care and education organizations purchase food processors, cooling and storage equipment, and specialized ovens to make it easier to serve Minnesota grown produce, meat and dairy. Other recipients have utilized grant funds to develop their Farm to School programs by connecting with farmers in their areas, determining how seasonal produce fits into menu cycles, and creating processes to use local foods in infant foods in early care settings.
AGRI Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants benefit farmers by empowering schools to use locally grown and raised foods. Jackson County Central used their AGRI Farm to School Grant funds to purchase a Steam’n Hold Steamer. The equipment will allowed them to purchase more locally raised vegetables from Minnesota farms like Brandt Gardens and Greenhouse.
Applications for Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. CST on November 1, 2018. For more information and to apply, visit www.mda.state.mn.us/f2sgrant and www.mda.state.mn.us/f2ecegrant.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications