6 school districts receive Farm to School grants

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) announced Wednesday it is awarding six Kentucky school districts grants to allow them to increase their abilities to grow and store more locally grown Farm to School products.

“This project is the next step for growth in our Farm to School Program,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Jonathan Shell. “It gives us the ability to provide education and procurement training opportunities to our young future farmers as well as school food service professionals all to provide a brighter future for Kentucky agriculture.”

The money awarded through the KDA grants came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Patrick Leahy Farm to School Program for unique food service projects involving high school FFA chapters.

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KDA’s Farm to School program has the goal of bringing fresh, high-quality Kentucky-grown products to Kentucky’s school systems, enabling students to learn about the importance of buying local food products while helping Kentucky farmers find new markets.

The awards are as follows:

  • Barren County — $46,206 for a hydroponic container farm and a walk-in refrigerator to store Farm to School products.
  • Crittenden County — $10,298 for two hydroponic tower systems.
  • Graves County — $49,588 for five hydroponic tower systems and four reach-in coolers for storage.
  • Marion County— $50,000 for three Flex Farm hydroponics systems, one pass-through refrigerator, and one display case for grab and go.
  • Taylor County — $22,075 to establish a new 1-acre on-campus garden, install one hydroponics tower, and purchase one walk-in cooler for storage.
  • Union County — $50,000 for a new hydroponics system for greens, and a refrigerated trailer for storage and transport.

Farm to School allows students to learn about nutrition and agriculture through hands-on experiences, such as planting, watering, and harvesting fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Since the grant program’s inception in 2013, USDA has awarded $75 million through Farm to School Grants in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico, which have reached more than 25 million students in more than 59,000 schools.