Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

California receives more than $1.4 million in USDA farm to school grants

A school garden at Bell Gardens Intermediate School in Los Angeles County.

Taken from a USDA news release

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $12 million in Farm to School Grants this year, announcing awards to 176 grantees, the most projects funded since the program began in 2013. More than $1.4 million of the funding is coming to California.

The USDA is also releasing new data demonstrating the recent growth of farm to school efforts nationwide. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of school districts and/or local entities responsible for school meals participated in farm to school activities during school year 2018-2019, more than half (57%) of which began within the past three years.

This year’s Farm to School Grants will help expand the access to fresh, local foods and hands-on agricultural learning for children across 45 states and the District of Columbia. The awarded projects will serve more than 1.4 million students at more than 6,800 schools. Grantees include schools, state agencies, non-profits, tribal nations, agricultural producers and groups, and – for the first time ever – institutions participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

The California recipients are as follows:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside (BGCO) -$50,000
BGCO will expand and revamp their existing community garden and use it as a resource for fresh produce
for Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program meals.

Campo Band of Mission Indians, Campo CA – $47,950
The Campo Kumeyaay F2S Edible Garden Project will expand on current USDA programs by
supporting an opportunity for the Kumeyaay children and youth to learn the traditional ways of
growing food and managing the land, and building a garden ecosystem.

Community Action Marin, San Rafael CA – $97,864
Community Action Marin will expand its existing production farm add an additional school garden to a second agency early education campus. This project is part of the Community Action Marin’s Children and Family Services
strategy to ensure that the children in their preschool and childcare programs, and their parents,
are well nourished and able to build life-long healthy eating habits.

Community Bridges, Watsonville CA – $48,122
Community Bridges’ Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), in partnership with 100 Day
Care Home Providers, will pilot the Edible Garden Project benefiting low-income children in
California’s central coast and tri-county (Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz) area.

Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, Concord CA – $45,535
The Contra Costa Resource Conservation District will implement its “Gills to Greens: Aquaponics
Systems for Urban Food Security” curriculum, which prioritizes serving 3rd-4th grade students
from underserved areas of Contra Costa County.

Healthy Day Partners, Encinitas CA – $94,695
Healthy Day Partners will grow the Straight 2 the Plate (S2TP) program in National City to advance
a commitment to farm to school programs nourishing students through healthy food and quality
education no matter the zip code or income level.

Imperial County Office of Education, El Centro CA – $48,627
Through its Agricultural Education Curriculum Development and Delivery Project, the Imperial
County Office of Education (ICOE) will help increase, expand, and improve access to high-quality
agricultural education programs in Imperial County.

International Rescue Committee, Inc., Sacramento CA – $50,000
Through the proposed Edible Garden Project, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in
Sacramento will work with four elementary schools in the San Juan Unified School District (SJUSD)
to develop and install four edible gardens, improving local food access and meeting community
nutritional needs.

Lodi Unified School District – $48,522
The Lodi Unified School District will purchase and construct an innovative and interactive greenhouse
at Plaza Robles Continuation High School. This project will provide students with a positive educational opportunity, building upon existing school gardening activities in the Lodi Unified School District to serve 159 continuation students.

Logan Heights Community Development Corporation, San Diego CA – $43,560
Logan Heights CDC will plan and execute an Edible Garden at its Future Achievers Preschool,
which annually provides STEAM education to up to 70 two- to five-year-old children.

North Monterey County Unified School District, Castroville CA – $97,638
Building on already successful partnerships, the North Monterey County Unified School District
(NMCUSD) Farm to School Expansion Project will increase the procurement of locally sourced
foods by scaling up the purchase of seasonal produce while leveraging efforts to expand educational opportunities for students.

Northern Valley Catholic Social Service, Redding CA – $44,002
The CalFresh Healthy Living program at Northern Valley Catholic Social Service will establish edible gardens within seven low-income elementary schools in Shasta County. Each garden will be made large enough to ensure a
consistent supply of fresh produce can be integrated into the menu and served to the students

Pasadena Unified School District – $99,018
The Pasadena Unified School District will expand the scope and depth of its current Farm to School
program in order to improve access to locally grown healthy foods for students in eligible schools
and to increase their knowledge of nutrition, food science, agro-ecology through curriculum
development, teacher training, and experiential learning opportunities during and after the
school day.

Planting Justice, Oakland CA – $99,496
Building upon the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) movement toward healthier lunches,
Planting Justice will achieve hyperlocalization of the farm to school supply chain through Planting Justice’s East Oakland Neishi Farm’s production and distribution of leafy greens to OUSD lunch suppliers for preparation in Oakland public school lunches. Planting Justice will also partner with eight (8) schools in the District through pop-up green smoothie distributions, creation and maintenance of school gardens, and implementation of the Plant! Cook! Organize! curriculum.

Prepa Tec LA Middle School, Walnut Creek CA – $48,569
Alta Public Schools will participate in the Farm to School grant in order to bring a larger quantity
and variety of fresh produce to its students and families in the South East Los Angeles area. Alta
Public Schools will increase the use of fruits and vegetables in its breakfast, lunch and supper
menu, will implement salad bars at all campuses, and provide students and parents with culinary
workshops that will help families learn how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their
home cooking.

Schools in Action, Los Angeles – $36,361
As a School Food Authority, Schools in Action (SIA) would like to ensure that the Arts in Action
Community Charter Schools (A.I.A) widens its current approach to promoting nutrition education
and combatting food insecurity. This will be done through the procurement of local seasonal
vegetables and/or fruits and interactive lessons involving taste tests, presentations, and at-home
activities provided by a key partner.

Sierra Harvest, Nevada City CA – $98,518
The Free Range Kids project increases the availability of local foods in K-12 schools serving 10,000
students in rural Western Nevada County, CA. School meals will highlight new menu items and
increase students’ consumption of healthy foods through additional salad bars using locally
procured fresh fruits and vegetables.

Sustainable Solano Inc., Benicia CA – $46,235
Sustainable Solano will lead the “Markham Elementary Edible Garden Project” – the
development of a unique, distributed permaculture garden of raised beds and fruit tree guilds
across Markham Elementary School’s campus in Vacaville, CA. This project is a pilot for additional
sustainable school gardens across Solano County and will be accomplished in partnership with
the Vacaville Unified School District, Vacaville Public Education Foundation and Solano County
Office of Education.

The HEAL Project, Half Moon Bay CA – $71,226
The HEAL Project will deliver its award-winning garden based education programming, Intensive
Garden Program, to two local elementary schools. Additionally, the organization will develop a
school garden handbook, including planting guides, funding resources, and a 26-week curriculum,
to be distributed throughout San Mateo County.

Val Verde Unified School District, Perris CA – $100,000

Last year, the Val Verde Unified School District (VVUSD) partnered with the City of Perris to create
a Farm to School Framework and Action Plan. They will implement the VVUSD Farm 2 School
program in 16 of their K-8 schools. They will use the USDA funding for garden expansion and
modernization to increase their capacity for food growth, and purchase curricula to support
agricultural education across all of their K-8 schools.

In 2018 – 2019, the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) worked with Conscious
Kitchen to bring fresh, local, organic scratch cooked meals to a 536-student pilot at Peres
Elementary, a 100% free/reduced school. Kids loved the food, the program proved that the
district could cost effectively purchase local organic ingredients, significantly reduce waste,
provide a positive climate impact, create meaningful jobs, and engage students. In 2020,
WCCUSD launched a COVID response program further demonstrating the value and benefits of
buying local fresh products at scale, serving over 7 million meals to children in their communities
with over 75% with local fresh produce and shifting to over 50% organic products. The grant funds
will allow the district to create a roll out plan to bring the positive and delicious benefits from
these pilot projects to their students across the district when in-person meals return.

Yurok Tribe, Klamath CA – $99,976.00
The Yurok Tribe Environmental Program Food Sovereignty Division will create the food
production component of the Wautec Food Village and create corresponding garden and
traditional foods curriculum to support the Jack Norton Elementary School Farm to School

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