$90K Farm to School
Regional Grant Competition
Congratulations to the Western Slope for winning the competition. To learn more about the region and how it will use the grant, read here. Check out the great media coverage, including a Denver Post article by Colleen O’Connor.
Early 2016, the Colorado Farm to School Task Force and CoBank announced a competitive regional grant program to grow farm to school sales. Three regions vied for $90,000 to support the development and implementation of on-farm food safety plans for Colorado fruit and vegetable producers who want to sell to Colorado schools. Learn more about the grant competition below.
2016 Eligible REGIONS
- Western Slope (counties include Delta, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, and Gunnison).
- Northern Front Range (counties include Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, Broomfield, Weld, Boulder, and Larimer).
- Southern Front Range (counties include El Paso, Pueblo, Custer, Fremont, Teller, Huerfano, Crowley, and Otero).
The application was simple; however, to apply a region had to demonstrate that they have a minimum of two school districts, five producers, and one community organization (e.g., local health department, local/regional food policy council, non-profit working on local food issues, etc.) willing to work together on FTS.
Process for Applying
Applications were available at the Colorado Farm to School Intensive Technical Assistance (ITA) Workshops in each region and could also be downloaded online (Word, PDF). At least some of the applicants (school food service directors, agricultural producers, community partner) had to attend the ITA workshops in their region.
Why a Grant for On-Farm Food Safety?
Many small to mid-size producers sell directly to consumers, such as farmers’ markets; however, selling to schools and other institutional buyers, including distributors and other wholesale operations requires producers to have formal farm food safety plans. This poses a significant increase in cost and time to the producer. The $90K regional grant will provide “mini-grants” up to $10K for individual producers and $15K for food hubs/co-ops.