Farm to School and Early Childhood: Child Nutrition Grants

Program Purpose

Child Nutrition Grants provide financial and technical assistance to help schools and early childhood programs develop or expand farm to school and farm to early childhood programs.

The purpose of the Vermont Farm to School Program, established by the Rozo McLaughlin Farm to School Act (6 V.S.A. § 4721), is to: 

  • Encourage Vermont residents in developing healthy and lifelong habits of eating nutritious local foods
  • Maximize use by Vermont schools and early care providers of fresh and locally grown, produced or processed food
  • Work with partners to establish a food, farm, and nutrition education program that educates Vermont children regarding healthy eating habits through the use of educational materials, classes, and hands-on techniques that inform children of the connections between farming and the foods that they consume
  • Increase the size and stability of direct sales markets available to Vermont producers
  • Increase participation of Vermont children in child nutrition programs by increasing the selection of available foods
  • Expand and improve child nutrition programs in schools and early childhood education programs

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.


Any Vermont registered or licensed early care provider or consortium of early care providers; independent schools; supervisory union (SU) or educational district on behalf of a public school or consortium of schools may apply for this competitive grant.

How to Apply

Applications are now closed. Applications will open again in the 2019–2020 school year.

Grant Overview

The overall objective of the Vermont Farm to School & Child Nutrition Grant Program is to help Vermont schools and early care providers develop farm to school programs that will sustain relationships with local producers, enrich the educational experience of children, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont’s agricultural economy. This is best accomplished through a comprehensive, team approach.

All schools and early care providers come to the Vermont Farm to School Program with a different level of experience and familiarity with farm to school principles and practices. The goal of this grant opportunity is to meet schools and early care providers where they are and provide individualized coaching, technical assistance, professional development, and financial assistance to help them move forward in the development of their own, unique farm to school program. In many cases, schools or early care providers jumpstart their farm to school program by first expanding and improving their food programs.

Each grantee team will receive individualized technical assistance and professional development, based on their goals and needs, from an organization selected by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, to improve their food program and delivery of food, farm, and nutrition education.

  1. Grantee Coaching (2-year period) 

Estimated project team commitment: 25 hours

Each project team will receive coaching from an expert within the Vermont Farm to School Network, who will be selected and managed by Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day). Coaches will provide direct support to grantees in areas such as coordinating grant activities, using support services effectively, and meeting grant requirements. Grantees will receive assistance throughout the grant period through regular email communication, phone calls, and several in-person site visits with their coach.

Coaches will support project teams with the following: 

  • Creating a farm to school action plan and timeline
  • Creating an official project budget (to be submitted during the grant period)
  • Connecting and coordinating with support 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 (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.

  1. Curriculum Professional Development (1-year period; only available for K-12)

Estimated project team commitment: 12 hours

Grantees will receive professional development services for faculty to help integrate food, farm, and nutrition education into the curriculum, aligned with Vermont education standards. The trainer will work with the grantee’s coach to identify topics, content, and convening times for meetings and/or phone calls that align with the school food service manager’s schedule.

Vermont FEED will provide professional development services, delivered based on grantee availability and interest.

  1. Child Nutrition Program Viability (1-year period)

Estimated project team commitment: 12 hours

School food service managers 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.

  1. 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.

Learn More

2019 Farm to School Grant Webinar

Program Contact
(802) 505-1822

WebGrants Technical Assistance

Diana Ferguson
(802) 622-4094

Melissa Moon
(802) 828-3828

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.2431
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory               802.522.3502
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                            802.828.2433
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Farmer Assistance                    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