WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree announced today that Maine will receive two grants from the USDA Farm to School program to support efforts to connect schools and students to local food. RSU 18 in Oakland will receive $44,213 and Healthy Acadia in Bar Harbor will receive $100,000.
"This USDA Farm to School investment is a win-win for our communities in Bar Harbor and Oakland. Our students will have access to healthier local foods, and our community farmers will have an opportunity to expand their markets," said Michaud. "I'm also pleased that the grants will allow for increased education about the importance of healthy foods--so our students can have a greater understanding of where the food they eat comes from and why it's important to make healthy choices."
"The USDA's recent Farm to School Census found that 86 percent of Maine schools participate in farm to school activities--higher than nearly every other state. These schools have seen how bringing farmers into the classroom and local foods to the lunch table help them offer healthier meals while supporting the local economy," said Pingree. "The Farm to School grant program has been a critical part of these efforts in helping schools launch, strengthen, and expand their initiatives. I'm so glad these two organizations will receive funding this year to improve access to healthy, local food for hundreds of Maine students."
Last March, Pingree talked about the success of the Farm to School grant program and expressed the need for increased funding during a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. The video is online at http://bit.ly/1yb3zGp. Below are descriptions of the two projects to receive funding.
Regional School Unit 18
Grant Amount: $44,213
- Planning grant will allow the school system to establish the infrastructure needed to expand its farm to school program from one school currently to the entire district.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Grant Amount: $100,000
- Grant will improve distribution, storage, and processing systems that support local farms and food procurement efforts by schools in the Downeast region. It will also integrate nutrition policies and education in the school systems, providing engagement and learning among students around nutrition, agriculture, and foods.