AGRI Farm to School Grant Program

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)


Grant amount: US $1,000 - US $50,000

Deadline: Nov 1, 2018 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Capital Project, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Minnesota

Location of residency: Minnesota

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Overview:

Background

The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation Program (AGRI) was established to advance Minnesota’s agricultural and renewable energy industries (MS 41A.12). This program focuses on areas of greatest opportunity and potential economic impact to create agricultural jobs and profitable businesses in the areas of livestock investment, value-added business and market development, and renewable energy. The AGRI Farm to School Grant Program targets schools and child care centers that are interested in increasing the amount of Minnesota grown and raised foods they serve.

Program Goals

The goal of the Farm to School Grant Program is to increase sales of Minnesota agricultural products to elementary schools, secondary schools, and child care providers, thereby increasing access to fresh, local foods for Minnesota students. Supports Minnesota school districts and child care providers in the processing of Minnesota agricultural products. Grants are intended to:  

  • Create plans that identifies specific equipment, tools, training or policies needed by school districts and child care providers.
  • Purchase equipment to allow schools and child care providers to purchase, prepare and serve more Minnesota grown and raised food.

Eligible Projects 

Two categories of grants will be considered:

Planning Grants

Up to 75% of the total project cost may be covered by the grant, with a maximum grant award of $30,000 and a minimum grant award of $1,000. 

Planning grant projects must involve school and/or child care center sites, or central facilities, that participate in NSLP or CACFP. 

Project Examples Include, But Are Not Limited To:

  • Determine which Minnesota farmers could sell to the school or child care center, what products they produce, how foods would be delivered, how many pounds can be purchased, etc. 
  • Determine how a school or child care center could establish a Farm to School program by identifying product availability and cost, and necessary equipment, tools, training, or policies. 
  • Additional uses may be proposed, but applicants are encouraged to contact the program administrator to confirm eligibility. 

Equipment Purchases And Physical Improvement Grants

Up to 50% of the total project cost may be covered by the grant, with a maximum grant award of $50,000 and a minimum grant award of $1,000.  Equipment purchases and physical improvements may only be made in school and/or child care center sites that participate in NSLP or CACFP, or in central facilities that service participating sites. Blue Cross has provided the MDA up to $125,000 to help schools meet the requirement for matching funds, and will consider matching fund requests of up to $15,000 per applicant. These matching funds cannot be used toward feasibility studies. This funding is part of Blue Cross’ long-term commitment to improve the health of all Minnesotans by tackling the leading root causes of preventable disease: tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. 

Project Examples Include, But Are Not Limited To:

  • Food processing equipment
  • Food preparation equipment
  • Corers, slicers, wedgers, knives, or other tools
  • Salad bars
  • Steamers
  • Storage containers
  • Coolers/refrigeration units
  • Additional equipment purchases and physical improvements may be proposed

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Eligible Applicants and Required Letters of Support:
    • Public or private schools or school districts that are a part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and serve food to preschool and/or K-12 students.
      • Multi-district proposals are welcome but not required.
      • Applicants are required to submit at least one letter of support from a Minnesota farmer who currently sells to the school, or would sell to the school after the grant is received. 
    • Child care providers that are enrolled in Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and serve, on average, at least 40 lunches or 40 suppers daily, based on average daily participation rates in October 2016.
      • Examples of child care providers include, but are not limited to, Head Start, Early Head Start, preschool programs, and private providers.
      • Applicants are required to submit at least one letter of support from a Minnesota farmer who currently sells to the provider, or would sell to the provider after the grant is received. 
    • Economic development organizations, non-profit organizations and educational service cooperatives may apply on behalf of and act as fiscal agents for eligible entities, but need to clearly identify those entities and provide letters of support from those entities.
      • Economic development organizations, non-profit organizations and educational service cooperatives also need to submit at least one letter of support from a Minnesota farmer who currently sells to the identified school(s), or would sell to the school(s) after the grant is received. 
    • Previous Farm to School Grant recipients are eligible to apply for and receive funding in future grant cycles. There is no lifetime cap on how much a grantee may be awarded. 
  • Matching Funds:
    •  Planning Grants - Recipients must contribute the remaining 25% of the project cost as a cash match.
    • Equipment Purchases And Physical Improvement Grants - Recipients must contribute the remaining 50% of the project cost as a cash match. 

Ineligibility:

  • Please note, training and workshop fees cannot not be covered by grant dollars. 
  • Blue Cross funds may not be used for planning grants. 
  • Ineligible Expenses
    • School gardens, greenhouses
    • Food used in school cafeterias
    • Costs incurred prior to award 
    • Training and workshop fees
    • Advertising and public relations
    • Bad debts - Including uncollectible accounts and other claims, related collection costs, and related legal costs
    • Donated or volunteer (in-kind) services. While these may be furnished to an applicant by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor, the value of these services is not reimbursable either as a direct or indirect cost 
    • Donations, in kind contributions, including property, and services, made by the applicant, regardless of the recipient
    • Entertainment, amusement, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, alcohol and gratuities) 
    • Fines, penalties and other settlement expense resulting from violations (or alleged violations) of, or failure of the applicant to comply with, Federal, State, local, or Indian tribal laws and regulations 
    • Fundraising including financial campaigns, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions regardless of the purpose for which the funds will be used 
    • Indirect costs (expenses of doing business that are not readily identified within the project, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and the implementation proposal related activities)
    • Investment management costs, including costs of investment counsel and staff, and similar expenses incurred to enhance income from investments 
    • Land purchases
    • Lobbying - including costs of membership in organizations substantially engaged in lobbying
    • Political activities