There are many grants available for farm to school programs, both large and small. Some grants are only available for schools.
Here is more information about the different types of funding available for farm to school in Illinois.
Click on the type of funding you are interested in to be taken to that area of the website.
The USDA Farm to School grant is the main funding stream for large farm to school programs, and this grant has provided the infrastructure for farm to school across the country. In September 2015, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of a new report that shows that USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program, established and funded through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, has helped 12,300 schools improve nutritious meal options made with local ingredients for 6.9 million students, while expanding market opportunities for family farmers and ranchers in their communities. Through its Farm to School Grant Program, USDA has awarded 221 grants in 49 States, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands over the past three years. Fifty percent of funded projects included expanding healthy menu options offered in the cafeteria; 46 percent included training for food service staff about menu planning, meal preparation, and cooking with local and regional foods; and 65 percent included nutrition education activities. Read the full report here.
You can find more information about how to apply for the grant and previously granted projects here.
USDA Community Food Project Grant Program
The 2016 USDA Community Food Projects Grant Program Request for Applications has been released, with $8.4 million in grant funding available. Community Food Projects are designed to increase food security in communities by bringing the whole food system together to assess strengths, establish linkages, and create systems that improve the self-reliance of community members over their food needs. Eligible grant applicants include food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners.The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project is providing free one-on-one technical assistance and resources to organizations interested in applying for the Community Food Projects Grant Program through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information and to apply for technical assistance, please visit the Community Food Projects’ website. Applications are due Monday, November 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm EST.
The USDA has a strong infrastructure of grants for small farmers who might be interested in farm to school. As a part of the Know Your Farmer initiative, USDA created a chart that outlines the different funding streams depending on the type of grant you need. Look at the chart here: USDA programs in the Local Food Supply Chain.
The purpose of this grant is to fund projects that educate new and underserved farmers about the 20 Farm Service Agency programs that provide financial, value-added production, property inheritance, production, disaster, or technical support. Eligibility is reserved for 501(c)3 nonprofits and institutions of higher education. Funding is between $20,000 and $100,000 per applicant. The application deadlines for each evaluation period are Nov. 20,2015; Jan. 22, 2016; Mar. 18, 2016; and May 27, 2016. The grant can be accessed here.
The National Farm to School Network partnered with Farm Credit, an organization over 100 years old with a long history of supporting farmers and rural America, to create paths to funding farmer farm to school projects. They created a fact sheet with ideas and examples of how Farm Credit and affiliated programs have funded Farm to School efforts across the country. Download the factsheet here.
This section will be updated periodically. For the most up to date grant information, please join the network to subscribe to our newsletter. This will keep you informed about the most current grants. Here is an example of a small school grant from September 2015.
Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program
Created in partnership with FoodCorps, the Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to a K-12 school, or a nonprofit working in partnership with a K-12 school, to support a new or existing edible garden on school grounds. Applications for the 2016 Garden Grant Program are now open, and close on October 31. Visit the Whole Kids Foundation website for complete program guidelines, FAQ, and the online application form.
Youth Garden Grant
Created and awarded by the National Gardening Association, the Youth Garden Grant awards packages that are valued at over $500 to schools, non-profits, and youth programs. Programs must have a minimum of 15 students ages 3-18 to be eligible to apply. Applications are now open and close on December 1, 2015. Winners will be announced on January 21. For more information about the National Gardening Association or the Youth Garden Grant visit the Kids Gardening website for more information, rules, regulations, to access the online application or for gardening lesson plans and resources.
The Carton2Garden contest is supported by KidsGardening.org and presneted by
Evergreen Packaging. The contest is rewarding up to $5,000. Only schools are eligible to
enter the contest. Adult sponsors 18 years old or greater may submit applications by the April 13, 2016 deadline. To access contest rules click here, to access the contest application form click here.
Grants for Food Garden Projects, Seed Money
Seed Money is giving away 125 grants of $400 to food garden projects this fall. Seed Money is a crowdfunding and grant platform for food garden projects. To apply for a grant, start a project by November 12. More details available here.
Each year, more than one million free cabbage plants are distributed to third grade classrooms across the country. As part of the program, Bonnie Plants awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each state for sending in a photo of a unique-looking cabbage (deadline: September 30, 2015). Schools K-12 are eligible, the deadline is February 15, 2016. Register here.
Community and Miscellaneous School Grants
Solid Waste Management Grant Program
The purpose of this grant program is to fund organizations that work to reduce or eliminate water and solid waste pollution in rural areas. Eligibility requires a Private, 501(c)3 status for organizations, government agencies, federally-recognized Native American tribes, academic institutions. The funding is $4 million total and the deadline is December 31, 2015. Read more here at the USDA website or here at the Rural Assistance Center website. Access the application here.
Every year, the National Dairy Council, National Football League, and the USDA provide grants up to $4,000 to K-12 schools with programs that encourage youth to eat healthy (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and exercise for at least 60 minutes daily. One of this year’s Healthy Eating Plays focuses on Farm to School. Eligibility requires that K-12 schools that follow one Healthy Eating Play and Physical Activity Play. Funding is up to $4,000 per year per school with a deadline at November 4, 2015.
Jewel-Osco Community Grants
Jewel-Osco is providing funding to qualifying organizations, that have one of the following provisions, nutrition education, healthy eating, hunger relief, and local/sustainable conscientiousness. Eligibility requires 501(c)(3) organization status. Read more here.
The purpose is to fund service projects in communities, with ideas including rebuilding a playground or turning a vacant lot into a community garden. Children 18 and under are eligible. Funding is between $250 and $1,000 with a rolling deadline. Applications can be found here and must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This partnership between United Fresh, the White House, the Center for Disease Control, and others, helps provide resources for schools to install salad bars. Applications for School Districts can be found here, and information and a toolkit for parents can be found here.