November 18, 2015

Warner, Kaine Announce More Than $144,000 In USDA Funding To Bring Locally-Grown Food To Virginia Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $144,581 in grant funding to communities in Virginia to improve and expand access to locally-grown foods. Today’s funding – made available through the USDA’s Farm to School Grant Program – will connect child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers in Virginia, increasing access to fresh and healthy foods.

“These grants will strengthen local economies by increasing access to affordable, fresh and healthy food options for children across Virginia. Expanding access to locally grown food in Virginia schools not only provides children with nutritious meals, which enhances learning, but also supports Virginia’s local food producers,” Sen. Warner said.

“Today’s funding will help put fresh, locally-grown food in Virginia’s school cafeterias,” Kaine said. “By connecting Virginia farmers with school nutrition programs, we can help boost the agriculture industry and ensure our children are receiving healthy meals that are essential to good nutrition.”

Under today’s announcement, the following groups will receive funding:

  • City Schoolyard Garden in Charlottesville, Virginia will receive $99,620 in funding to serve nutritious food from local growers within the Charlottesville school system. Funding will also be used to train school kitchen staff, integrate local food into classroom learning, and share best-practices with neighboring school systems; and,
  • Loudoun County Public Schools in Ashburn, Virginia will receive $44,961 in funding to start a program in five elementary schools that aims to increase awareness of the benefits of fresh foods and to form new partnerships with local farmers.

USDA’s Farm to School Grants help increase local foods served through child nutrition programs, teach children about food and agriculture through garden and classroom education, and develop schools’ and farmers’ capacities to participate in farm-to-school programs. The funds are available to school districts, state and local agencies, tribal nations, agricultural producers and non-profit organizations. Fiscal year 2016 grants will serve more than 5,211 schools and 2.9 million students, nearly 40 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.