Tuesday, November 19, 2013

USDA Farm to School 2014 Awards in Colorado

USDA Farm to School FY 2014 Grant Awards in Colorado

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 authorized and funded USDA to establish a Farm to School Program in order to assist in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. Three grants were awarded in Colorado.

Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, CO was awarded $96,477; it will be used to undertake an intensive marketing and education program aimed at a 20% increase in consumption of locally‐sourced natural foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, in school meals. The aim is to increase local purchasing to 46% of the annual food service budget. In order to achieve this within a sustainable model, the total number of children eating the school lunch menu regularly must increase, and student acceptance and consumption of locally sourced foods as part of these meals must also increase. Marketing and education will involve all schools in the district for two weeks per year, called “Colorado Proud Weeks,” and focus on ten high-poverty elementary and middle schools year‐round. These schools serve over 4,000 children ages 3‐14, of whom 47% live in poverty households. Activities will include: field trips, farmer visits, tastings, student chef competitions, posters, cooking lessons, garden plantings and harvests, and classroom lessons closely aligned with science and health curriculum. The District will create “how to” manuals on garden to school and farm to school, for extended use by teachers, volunteers, and staff. Partners include local farms, dairies and ranches, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, restaurants, school gardens, a local foundation, the Colorado State University Extension, and district curriculum departments.

The Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment was awarded  $98,880 as continued support of the Farm to School Task Force. It will expand the dissemination of an existing farm to school evaluation toolkit and training, already developed, piloted, and refined by the Task Force. Regardless of size, farm to school programs benefit from conducting evaluations of their efforts. The primary focus of the project will be to build capacity in schools and school districts to undertake evaluation related to their farm to school efforts. The toolkit will be disseminated through webinars and in‐person trainings at existing national or regional events.

Durango School District 9‐R in Durango, CO received $99,998. It was awarded to enable the district to take an existing space within the Durango School District and repurpose it into an aggregation center that will service the Durango School District and four surrounding districts. It will allow access to more nutritious, locally grown foods in meals, allow for larger purchases of local foods, and allow for greater control in inventory, food safety, and trackback. This project will provide the infrastructure necessary to continue to expand the farm to school programming in the southwest part of the state.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post, was an interesting read. Curious as to how you came about that solution