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Grant program announced addressing agricultural awareness for children

HARRISBURG – Russell Redding, Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Secretary, announced the opening of the $500,000 Farm to School Grant Program on Thursday during a Cisco Webex Press Conference. The grant program is to improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture education opportunities for children pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

The official press release states “The Pennsylvania Farm Bill, Farm to School Grant Program, aims to improve the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early childhood education sites.”

State Representatives Danilo Burgos and John Hershey joined Redding in Thursday’s press conference. They are supporters of the Farm to School legislation in Governor Tom Wolf’s initial Pennsylvania Farm Bill. Rick Sayles, project coordinator for the Steelton-Highspire School District Farm to School project from the last round of funding also attended.

“Our Farm to School grant has allowed us to increase agriculture education programing and provide an opportunity for students to apply their learning to their everyday life,” said Sayles during the conference.

Any school district, charter school, or private school with pre-kindergarten classes, kindergarten, or elementary through fifth grade – regardless of offering in-person, virtual, or hybrid instruction models – is eligible to apply for up to $15,000. Eligible applications should include:

¯A list of Pennsylvania farmers who have agreed to supply products from their farms;

¯Nutrition and agriculture education, including integration into regular classroom subjects;

¯Training of teachers and other educational staff on nutrition and agriculture education;

¯Inclusion of parents, caregivers, and community groups in educational activities; and

¯Field trips to Pennsylvania farms or other direct agricultural experiences which teach children about sources of food and Pennsylvania agriculture.

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