We're no longer accepting applications for this year's program. Details on this page apply to the previous round of funding. The next application period opens in late summer 2024.

The Farm to School and Early Care First Bite Grant is intended to be an intentional learning process for school districts and early childhood education (ECE) centers that have little to no experience with local procurement as part of a Farm to School and Early Care program.

If your school district or ECE center has prior Farm to School and Early Care experience, or you’ve previously received a Farm to School First Bite Grant, you should apply for the Farm to School and Early Care Full Tray Grant.

boy with glasses biting into an apple

Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants include:

  • Public or private schools or school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and serve food to K-12 students
  • ECE centers that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

We encourage school districts and ECE centers serving sovereign tribal nations to apply.

Eligible projects

Projects must focus on intentional, high-impact Farm to School and Early Care efforts that highlight Minnesota grown and raised foods. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Trialing new Minnesota grown products on the menu or through taste tests
  • Participating in the Minnesota Great Apple Crunch
  • Hosting a Breakfast or Lunch with a Farmer meal
  • Increasing the number of times a Minnesota item or meal repeats on the menu
  • Adding Minnesota Thursdays as a monthly feature to the menu
  • Expanding the number of featured items or meals during Farm to School and Early Care Month (October)

Amount available for First Bite Grants

We expect to award up to $935,000 to reimburse school districts and ECE centers for buying Minnesota grown and raised foods used in federal meal programs.

  • First Bite applicants may apply for $2,500 to $5,000.
  • There is no cash match.
  • Request only the amount of funding you think you can spend within the grant period (approximately March 2024 – December 2026).

Equipment Grant

In addition to applying for the Farm to School and Early Care First Bite Grant, you may also apply for up to $25,000 to buy equipment.

  • Equipment requests may include the cost of equipment, shipping, and associated installation costs and must support Farm to School and Early Care initiatives.
  • There is a 1:1 match requirement and equipment projects must be completed by December 2026.
  • Receiving a First Bite Grant does not guarantee you will receive equipment funding.


The application period for this grant has ended. We expect the next application period to begin late summer of 2024; check back for updated program materials.

To learn more about the program and start planning for next year, read the Fall 2023 First Bite Request for Proposals (PDF). This grant program is subject to change so you should read the updated RFP when it's posted. You can also view our list of past projects and request a copy of an application to help you prepare. Contact us if you need this information in an alternative format.