The Agriculture Development Division would like to share an update for potential applicants about fiscal year 2021 grant opportunities. Five grant programs which provide critical support to our educational institutions and agriculture and forestry businesses are funded via allocations in the State of Vermont’s annual budget. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious disruptions in the State’s budgeting process, the Governor approved a “skinny” budget in June which only authorized spending for the first quarter of the State’s fiscal calendar (July through September). The Legislature returns on August 25 and a top priority will be to finalize a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, pending the Governor’s approval. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the budget and its impact on these programs, the Agency of Agriculture will be delaying the release of Farm to School grant applications. Read more ...
The application period for the 2020–2021 Farm to School Child Nutrition Grant is closed. View the Request for Applications here, and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the application is open.
The purpose of this grant is to help schools and early childcare providers develop farm to school 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 early care 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.
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 for the the 2019–2020 school year will open on October 11, 2019. Applications must be submitted by noon on November 21, 2019 to be considered. The full Request for Applications is available here.
The Vermont Farm to School and Child Nutrition 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/earl care providers and the Vermont agriculture community
- Increase the number of Vermont children participating in child nutrition programs
Each grantee will receive $15,000 in funding, disbursed in four payments. Payments will be made upon the grantee’s completion of specific deliverables. Recently consolidated school districts may be eligible for larger awards, up to $25,000.
The technical assistance component of this grant is designed to build strong and lasting farm to school 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.
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 will be scheduled to meet the availability of the grantee and Project Team but must be completed within the first year of the grant period.
- Grantee Coaching (2-year period)
Estimated project team commitment: 25 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, 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.
- Procurement Training and Professional Development (1-year period)
Estimated project team commitment: 5 hours
Project teams will receive one-on-one training and professional development related to local food procurement and general child nutrition support services, provided by Vermont FEED.
Training and professional development will be conducted on site. The trainer will work with each coach to identify topics, content, and convening times for meetings and phone calls that align with the school food service manager’s needs and schedule.
- Curriculum Professional Development (1-year period; only available for Pre-K-12)
Estimated project team commitment: 12 hours
Grantees will receive professional development services in the form of two half-day, on-site workshops administered by a farm to school curriculum expert. Workshops may cover best practices in integrating food, farm, and nutrition education in the curriculum and aligning that curriculum with Vermont education standards. The curriculum expert will work with the grantee to identify content specific to the grantee’s needs.
- Child Nutrition Program Viability (1-year period)
Estimated project team commitment: 12 hours
School food service managers and staff will receive technical assistance and professional development to support the viability of the meal program through on-site meetings and phone calls from a service provider.
Food service staff will receive technical assistance to improve federal meal program participation using a variety of tools and outreach methods. The support service provider will work with the grantee’s coach to identify topics, content, and convening times for meetings and phone calls that align with the school food service manager’s schedule.
- School Garden Workshops (1-year period)
Estimated project team commitment: 6 hours
Project teams will send one or more representatives to attend a school garden workshop, which will be scheduled based on grantee availability and geographic location. These workshops will serve as an opportunity for project team members to learn about successful school garden projects and glean important data that can be used to enhance the school’s farm to school philosophy and explore possibilities for advancing a garden in the school community.
School garden workshops are designed to help grantees:
- Develop a reasonable approach to integrating a school garden into the entire farm to school program;
- Focus on the importance of using existing school and community resources to support successful school gardens;
- Cultivate community buy-in for long-term, sustainable school gardens.
If the applicant does not have a garden, is not planning to develop a garden, or is not interested in this workshop, a pre-approved experiential learning professional development alternative is acceptable. This alternative will not be funded through the support services component of this grant but can be paid for with grant funding.