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USDA Grants to Fund 80 School Projects Promoting Healthy Eating

USDA Grants to Fund 80 School Projects Promoting Healthy Eating

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a grant of $5 million to fund schools with projects supporting healthy eating. 

The funding will go to more than 80 projects in 42 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands and will "start or continue their efforts to foster healthy eating habits among school children," said a press release.

“USDA is proud to support communities across the country as they plan and implement innovative farm to school projects,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release. “These inspiring collaborations provide students with healthy, fresh food, while supporting healthy local economies. Through farm to school projects, community partners are coming together to ensure a bright future for students, and for local farmers and ranchers.

Secretary Vilsack, the release said, "made this announcement at Common Market, a pioneering food hub in Philadelphia that connects wholesale customers to farmers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware."

"Common Market is receiving a grant to support their "An Apple a Day" Program," said the release. "The facility will act as a bridge between Pennsylvania Family Farms, a small Pennsylvania value-added processor, and public charter schools to provide food safety, product development, packaging, educational, marketing, planning, ordering and delivery support to farm and school food service partners."

Common Market and the other selected projects will "serve more than than 4,800 schools and 2.8 million students, nearly 51 percent of whom live in rural communities," according to the release.

One school, the Tift County School System in Georgia, "will build on its current efforts to provide agriculture and nutrition programs that are experiential, educational and better connect students to local and regional food," the release said. "Proposed activities include retrofitting a school bus to serve as a farm bus/rolling classroom, retrofitting a canning plant to preserve local tomatoes, and irrigating the school farm to expand the growing season and increase yield."

"USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food," the release said.

Click here to see the full list of school projects. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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