ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced $1 million in grant money is available to help schools to serve locally grown foods.
The Farm-To–School program, now in its third year, helps New York schools grow and serve more locally sourced food with school lunches.
"There's a direct link between good nutrition and academic success. Everyone benefits under New York's Farm-to-School Program - farmers grow and provide healthy food for our schoolchildren; students enjoy delicious, locally grown produce while learning valuable lessons about agriculture, health and wellness, and parents can be assured that their children's schools are providing healthy menu options,” said state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia in a statement.
The program is designed to get school districts in touch with New York farmers, to be able to serve more locally grown food to students and to help to educate children about the value of buying and eating locally grown food.
Public, private, charter and not-for-profit, kindergarten-through-grade 12 schools can apply for grant money to fund their farm-to school projects.
Cuomo's office said some of the projects can include hiring a farm-to-school coordinator, training programs for food staff in schools to help them learn about cooking with locally grown products, buying equipment to help school kitchens and staff to prepare the foods and to help pay for the storage and transport of local foods to schools.
Schools can apply for between $25,000 and $100,000 in grant money. Schools can only be awarded one grant within any giving funding period.
The deadline for schools to apply for grant money is Nov. 3.
During the first two funding periods, New York schools received $854,000.
Previous grants included: $22,544 to the Wayne-Finger Lakes Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Newark, Wayne County; $99,500 to the Poughkeepsie Farm Project in Poughkeepsie; and a grant of $100,000 to Foodlink, Inc. in Rochester.
For more information on the program, visit: www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html