Iowa Lands Grant to Expand Farm-to-School Program
iowaagriculture.gov

(Radio Iowa) The Iowa Department of Education is getting a federal grant to put more local food in schools and early child care centers. It’s the second time the department has received the two-year grant for the Iowa Farm to School program. The Iowa Department of Agriculture contributes matching funds. Brenda Windmuller at the ed department, says they’ll host more training for school workers on food safety and how local food can be incorporated into school lunches.

“Our big thing is that we want to make sure that the public is aware of what’s going on,” Windmuller says. “We want to increase the number of schools that participate in Farm to School initiatives, maybe eliminate some of that hesitation around it.” The U-S-D-A awarded the state a 67-thousand dollar grant to support Farm to School, while the state ag department will also contribute 25-thousand dollars. Windmuller says there’s no requirements for schools to participate in the program, but she says the funding will allow more education for school staff who are interested.

“If all you want to do is maybe participate in Iowa Local Food Day, once a year, that’s something,” she says. “That’s how you kind of dip your toe in it, learn about it, and then maybe the next year, you can take the next step. Really, that is our main objective, to get more people engaged in the program, and to increase the numbers of participation across the state.” Additionally, the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa received close to 100-thousand dollars from the U-S-D-A to expand the school garden and increase food storage for students on the Meskwaki Settlement. They’ll also bring more tribal foods into schools and develop a tribal food sovereignty curriculum.

(Catherine Wheeler, Iowa Public Radio)

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