DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced today it has received a $100,000 Farm to School Support Services Grant from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to host an Iowa Local Food Day on October 11, 2018, as part of National Farm to School month.
“We continue to see growing interest from both the schools and the farmers in incorporating locally grown produce in school meals. We are excited to get this additional funding to help scale-up efforts focused on increasing the amount of locally grown food served in school breakfasts and lunches,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. “This food day celebration will help prepare growers to sell to schools and assist schools in accessing locally grown items.”
With the grant funding, the Department is working to: build a support network for schools interested in using local foods; aid food service directors in making local procurements; work with growers interested in selling produce to schools; partner with Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP) as a starting point for farmers to work with schools; and allow Farm to School activities to expand beyond fruits and vegetables.
The Department is also helping to host the 2018 Iowa Farm to School Conference on June 29th at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to share ideas, resources and successes to help grow the farm to school and farm to early care and education movement in Iowa.
Farmers or schools interested in participating in Farm to School efforts can contact Tammy Stotts with the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.