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Grant brings locally-grown food to cafeterias

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane recently announced the Virginia Department of Education will use a nearly $100,000 Farm to School Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support efforts of school nutrition programs to serve Virginia-grown food in school cafeterias and school-based meals programs.

The $99,987 grant will fund efforts by the department — in collaboration with local, regional and statewide partners — to expand the commonwealth’s eight regional farm-to-school networks, continue farm-product specific procurement training for division school nutrition staff and create school nutrition programs that capitalize on local agricultural products. VDOE launched these initiatives in 2017 after receiving a similar USDA farm to school grant.

The grant will also support school field trips to farms, the development of an agriculture curriculum for students and a statewide farm-to-school conference. Key partners include the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Agriculture in the classroom.