WASHINGTON, Miss. (WTVA) -- Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced more than $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia, to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers.
The first-ever USDA Farm to School grants will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, distributors.
Grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.
The grants will serve more than 3,200 schools and 1.75 million students, nearly half of whom live in rural communities. Projects are diverse.
The Oxford School District is getting $38,145.
In order to improve the healthiness of school meals and to engage students and parents in using and appreciating fresh, local produce, the Oxford School District will plan a farm to school program.
Over the last five years, the Nutrition Program and its director have improved the healthiness, variety and
appeal of the meals offered, but need the help of advisors to begin to integrate local produce in a systematic, meaningful, permanent way.
Pilot activities will be conducted in two elementary schools that serve K‐3, but the implementation plan will lay out the procedure for district‐wide implementation.