PHILADELPHIA, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently joined Fox Chase Elementary students for lunch during their third annual PA Preferred® Day. There, Redding announced the availability of $500,000 through the PA Farm Bill’s Farm to School Grant Program for Pennsylvania elementary schools to improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture education opportunities for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
“Jumpstarting an interest in agriculture can be as easy as improving childhood access to nutritious, local foods,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “This Farm to School Program is planting seeds in the minds of our youngest Pennsylvanians about opportunities available through agriculture.”
As a result of Governor Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill, signed in July of this year, the Farm to School Grant Program aims to enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early childhood education sites.
“We are grateful for Secretary Redding visiting Fox Chase Elementary, and for his support of Philadelphia’s public school students,” said Dr. William R. Hite, superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. “We also believe that providing quality agricultural education experiences for our students is important, as is expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We look forward to continuing to work with the state to enhance resources for our students.”
Any school district, charter school, or private school with pre-kindergarten classes, kindergarten, or elementary through fifth grade is eligible to apply for up to $15,000. Eligible applications would include:
- A list of Pennsylvania farmers who have agreed to supply products from their farms;
- Nutrition and agriculture education, including integration into regular classroom subjects;
- Training of teachers and other educational staff on nutrition and agriculture education;
- Inclusion of parents, caregivers, and community groups in educational activities;
- Field trips to Pennsylvania farms or other direct agricultural experiences which teach children about sources of food and Pennsylvania agriculture.
“Farm to School activities – including days like PA Preferred Day – benefit our children with local and nutritious food, our communities with funding staying local, and our farmers with new market opportunities,” said Radha Pennoti, Senior Associate with The Food Trust. “The Food Trust is excited to support this initiative which supports our goal to provide healthy food access for all.”
The PA Farm to School Grant Program will begin accepting applications Fall 2019.
The PA Farm Bill is Governor Wolf’s bold, aggressive, and necessary investment in Pennsylvania agriculture to grow opportunities and resources, remove barriers to entry, and inspire future generations of leader for the industry.
For more about the PA Farm Bill’s investments in agriculture visit agriculture.pa.gov.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
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