Farm to School and Early Childhood Grant

Program Purpose

The purpose of this grant is to help schools and early childhood education (ECE) organizations develop programs that will sustain relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich the educational experience of students, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont's agricultural economy.

Schools and ECE providers are best able to achieve these goals when they take a holistic approach and incorporate the 3 C’s of Farm to School: Cafeteria (food program), Classroom, and Community. Together, the 3 C’s support healthy children, healthy agriculture, and healthy communities.

Eligibility

The following entities are eligible to apply for this grant:

  • Vermont registered or licensed early care providers, or a consortium of early care providers
  • Independent schools participating in any federal child nutrition programs
  • Individual public schools
  • Supervisory unions or educational districts on behalf of a public school or consortium of schools

How to Apply

Applications will need to be submitted through our online grants management system, WebGrants. Applicants that do not have a WebGrants account will need to request one by filling out and submitting the WebGrants Registration Form. Registration requests are processed in 1-2 business days. It is critical that new WebGrants users allow enough time for their registration request to be processed as they will not be able to fill out or submit an application until their account is created.  

We will begin accepting applications for this grant on October 4th, 2021

Download the complete Request for Proposals HERE

Download a copy of the complete application questions in a fillable word document HERE

The deadline to apply is November 1st, 2021 at Midnight.

Informational Webinar

Below are recordings of an informational webinar held on October 6th that covered important aspects of how the grant works and what applicants need to know in order to submit a strong application. 

Program Goals and Structure

How to Apply

Grant Overview

The Vermont Farm to School and Early Childhood Grant provides a combination of financial support and technical assistance to help schools and early care providers develop robust farm to school programs that:

  • Increase the use of local foods
  • Help teachers, administrators, and staff promote healthy eating habits
  • Strengthen connections between schools/early care providers and the Vermont agriculture community
  • Increase the number of Vermont children participating in child nutrition programs

Financial Support

Each grantee will receive $10,000 in funding, disbursed in three payments. Payments will be made upon the grantee’s completion of specific deliverables. Recently consolidated school districts or applications that involve multiple schools or ECEs may be eligible for larger awards, up to $15,000.

Technical Assistance 

The technical assistance component of this grant is designed to build strong and lasting farm to school and early childhood programs. It does this through the 3 C approach, which focuses on integrating farm to school activities throughout the Cafeteria, the Classroom, and the Community. Technical assistance will be delivered through workshops and trainings with subject matter experts. COVID-19 may impact how these workshops and trainings are conducted, i.e. online vs. in-person.

As part of the grant requirements, each grantee will establish a Project Team made up of diverse stakeholders within the organization. Examples of stakeholders include educators, administrators, food service staff, and community members. Engaging multiple stakeholders across an organization has proven to be the most effective method of building and embedding lasting programs.

With a few exceptions, participation in technical assistance activities is required by at least some of the Project Team members. Each technical assistance workshop will be customized to meet the needs and goals of individual grantees and targeted at specific members of the Project Team. Technical assistance workshops and trainings will be scheduled to meet the availability of the grantee and Project Team.

  1. Grantee Coaching 

Estimated project team commitment: 12 hours

Each grantee will be assigned a coach who will work with them throughout the duration of the grant. Coaches are experts from within the Vermont Farm to School Network. Through site visits (if appropriate), email communication, and phone calls, coaches will provide support in the following areas: 

  • Creating a farm to school action plan and timeline
  • Creating a project budget 
  • Connecting and coordinating with technical assistance service providers
  • Growing relationships in the school and local community to enhance project success
  • Completing the VT FEED rubric and action plan
  • Consultation on select farm to school topics – organizing farm visits, classroom activities, curriculum development, connecting schools with the greater farming community, etc.
  1. Procurement Training and Professional Development 

Estimated project team commitment: 5 hours

Project teams will receive training and professional development from NOFA-VT related to local food procurement. Examples of topics include the Vermont Local Incentive Program, procurement contracts and bidding, community supported agriculture and more.

  1. Curriculum Professional Development 

Estimated project team commitment: 4 hours

Grantees will receive professional development services from VT FEED on developing or enhancing farm to school/ECE curriculum and learning opportunities. Workshops may cover best practices in integrating food, farm, and nutrition education in the curriculum and learning environments and aligning those efforts with Vermont education standards. The curriculum expert will work with the grantee to identify the grantee’s needs. 

  1. Child Nutrition Program Viability 

Estimated project team commitment: 4 hours

Interested members of the grantee organization will receive technical assistance and professional development from Hunger Free Vermont to support the viability of their meal program. Examples of topics include federal meal program participation, cafeteria/meal space design and meal program participation.

  1. Garden Workshops 

Estimated project team commitment: 4 hours

Project teams will receive technical assistance from the Vermont Community Garden Network on how to start, maintain plan for a successful garden.

Garden workshops are designed to help grantees:

  • Develop a reasonable approach to integrating a gardens into the entire farm to school/ECE program;
  • Focus on the importance of using existing school/ECE and community resources to support successful school gardens;
  • Cultivate community buy-in for long-term, sustainable gardens.

 

 

Program Contact

Trevor Lowell
trevor.lowell@vermont.gov
(802) 585-9186

WebGrants Technical Assistance

Diana Ferguson
diana.ferguson@vermont.gov
(802) 622-4094

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

 

Program Contact

Trevor Lowell
trevor.lowell@vermont.gov
(802) 585-9186

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.5050
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory                                  802.585.6073
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                           802.828.2433
  • Produce Program                  802.461.5128
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Grants                                  802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431