Wenatchee and Waterville School Districts among the grant recipients
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has offered $3.7 million in Farm to School Purchasing grants to 105 applicants. School districts, childcare providers, tribal schools and tribal early learning centers will use the grants to serve high quality, nutritious and culturally relevant foods grown, raised, caught or foraged by producers in Washington state. WSDA’s Farm to School Purchasing Grants are possible thanks to the Washington State Legislature’s ongoing investment in farm to school.
WSDA received 132 applications this round with requests totaling over $8.5 million, more than double the available funding. Out of 295 school districts in Washington state, 100 applied for the grant, a 50 percent increase from the previous grant cycle.
“This growth in applications demonstrates a strong interest and growing need from school districts across the state,” Farm to School Lead Annette Slonim said.
In addition, WSDA received applications from 27 childcare and five summer meal programs.
“One of our goals with this grant program is to strengthen Washington’s food systems at the regional level, while helping to ensure that more locally-produced food is consumed by children in our schools,” WSDA Director Derek Sandison said.
Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $285,000. Awarded applicants will use the grant funds to expand their farm to school connections with purchases of eligible Washington-grown foods. Awardees may use up to 25 percent of their total grant for costs such as materials, supplies, equipment and labor that directly support the development and sustainability of their efforts to include and highlight foods grown and raised in Washington state as an ongoing part of their child nutrition programs.
The Washington state 2023-2025 biennium budget includes $5 million in ongoing funding for WSDA’s Farm to School program, including the Farm to School Purchasing Grant Program. A second round of Farm to School Purchasing Grant funds will be made available in Spring 2024 for the summer months and 2024-2025 school year.
For more information, visit agr.wa.gov/FarmToSchool or email email@example.com. The grant program is part of WSDA’s Focus on Food Initiative, ensuring safe, nutritious, local food is effectively produced and available throughout our state.