Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE), Nutrition Programs and Services recently received a Farm to School Grant totaling over 97,000 dollars from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Humboldt County was one of 14 out of 73 awardees within the western region of the U.S. to receive this competitive grant and one of only four awards in California.
The USDA provides funding for planning grants, training grants, and implementation grants. HCOE was the only implementation grant that received funding in California. Funding will help bring nutritious, local foods into schools and create new economic development opportunities for famers.
The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive Farm to School program in the after school setting that increases low-income student access to fresh fruits and vegetables and improves their food and agricultural literacy. The Harvest of the Month (HOTM) program is a proven foundation for which new efforts will stem. Nutrition Programs and Services plans is to enhance existing HOTM culinary activities and tie in hands-on gardening, experiential field trip opportunities, and local procurement for supper meals.
Local elementary school sites that this grant will benefit include Alice Birney, Grant, Lafayette, Washington, Peninsula, and Pine Hill. Partnerships for the field trip component of the project will include North Coast Growers Association and Humboldt Hydro Farms.
“We are extremely honored and excited to be a recipient of this competitive funding and look forward to expanding our current Farm to School efforts in the after school setting,” states Erin Derden-Little, Farm to School Coordinator, Nutrition Programs and Services.
These grants have proven to produce positive outcomes for schools and communities alike by connecting people to their food, which builds stronger ties to community agriculture.