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Farm to School and Early Childhood Capacity Building Grant

Program Purpose

The purpose of this grant is to help schools and early childhood education (ECE) organizations develop and expand farm to school and farm to early childhood programs that will foster relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich students' educational experiences, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont's agricultural economy. This competitive grant program is offered annually.

In addition to financial support, grantees also receive technical assistance from the Vermont Farm to School and Early Childhood Network and partner organizations to help them implement comprehensive farm to school and farm to early childhood strategies using the “3-C” approach, which incorporates Classroom, Cafeteria, and the Community.

FY2024 grant applications accepted October 4, 2023 - November 15, 2023.


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

  1. Read the Farm to School & Early Childhood Capacity Building Grant Request for Applications (RFA).
  2. Review the WebGrants Application Guide.
  3. Submit your application in WebGrants by November 15, 2023 at 11:59 PM. 

Note: New WebGrants users must complete the WebGrants Registration Form to create an account. Registrations are typically processed within two business days. Please register for an account well in advance of the application deadline.

Informational Webinar

Register for an optional informational webinar on October 16, 2023 11:00 AM-12:00 PM. The webinar will provide an overview of the funding opportunity, including grant requirements, application process, and timeline. There will be a live Q&A period at the end of the presentation. Webinar will be recorded, sent to registrants, and posted on this webpage.

Grant Details

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 a financial award between $5,000 and $20,000, disbursed in three payments. Award amounts are determined by the student/child population or the grantee organization. Payments will be made upon the grantee’s completion of specific deliverables, including interim and final reports. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Garden Workshops 

Estimated project team commitment: 4 hours

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

Garden workshops are designed to help grantees:

  • Develop a reasonable approach to integrating a garden into the 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.