The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System's School Nutrition Program has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Program. SCCPSS is one of just 29 organizations across the Southeast, one of only six in the state of Georgia to be awarded one of the grants.
The award will be used to implement increased use of local produce by scaling up the District's current school garden program into targeted schools with a high proportion of children who are eligible for free or reduced meals. With additional gardens at two schools, the program will operate gardens at five schools. The project will also expand Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math (STREAM) garden-based activities, nutrition activities/taste tests, and farm visits. Community partners will develop regionally specific curricula for teachers and school garden guides for site coordinators and volunteers to increase program sustainability and reach.
Section 18 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act was amended to create a Farm to School Program to:
- Distribute grant funding to improve access to local foods in schools;
- Provide training and technical assistance to improve access to local foods in schools; and,
- Disseminate research and data on existing programs and opportunities for expansion.
On an annual basis, USDA awards competitive Farm to School grants to be used for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.
In FY 2019 and FY 2020, the Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) will release approximately $7.5 million to help reach more communities seeking to incorporate local products into the school meal programs, integrate agricultural education into the classroom, and cultivate and expand school gardens.