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Cooperative Agreements to USA IHEs, Nonprofit and For-Profit Research Institutions, and Others to Improve Nutrition in K-12 Schools

Development and Implementation of Healthy Meals Incentives School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants

GrantWatch ID# 206849
Agency: Federal

Funding Source
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
CFDA Number: 10.579
Funding or PIN Number: USDA-FNS-CN-2023-SFSTC
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Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Conference Date: 12/07/22
LOI Date: 01/09/23
Deadline: 02/01/23 11:59 PM EST Receipt Save

Grant Description
Cooperative Agreements to USA IHEs, nonprofit and for-profit research institutions, and other qualifying entities to improve nutrition for K-12 school children. Required registrations may take at least 4 weeks to complete. Selected cooperators will collaborate with food industry partners to support school districts, food producers, suppliers, distributors, and community partners to strengthen the availability of, and access to, nutritious food products in the school food marketplace.

The FNS will award cooperative agreements for the administration and management of the Healthy Meals Incentives School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants

In June of 2022, the USDA launched the Food System Transformation framework which aims to build a more resilient food supply chain, create a fairer food system, and make nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers, with a particular focus on equity. Under this RFA, the School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grant Cooperative Agreement will reflect FNS’ commitment to encourage the offering of healthier food products in the marketplace for school meals through engagement with the food industry and incentivizing innovation and partnerships. Increasing access to nutritious and appealing foods for kids is critical to the success of strong school meal standards. 

The goal of this RFA is to select a Cooperator or Cooperators who will implement and manage the Sub-Grants Program. These sub-grants will support a more resilient food system through expanding manufacturing and purchasing capacity at the local and regional level. This, in turn, increases equitable access to healthy food products both in schools and in communities by way of support for agricultural producers, growers, and processors impacted by COVID-19. 

USDA FNS has structured this award as a cooperative agreement; therefore, the Cooperator(s) can expect substantial collaboration, participation, and/or intervention in the management of the project by USDA FNS. USDA FNS will provide TA and consultation to the Cooperator(s) to support the implementation, evaluation, and communication and dissemination of the cooperative agreement activities.

For further details about the program, see pp. 7-8 in the RFA listed in Supporting Documents below.

The Cooperator(s) has overall responsibility for planning, implementing, and operating all aspects of the project. For Cooperator responsibilities, see p. 11 of the RFA.

For Allowable Costs, see p. 13 of the RFA.


  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligible applicants include public or private colleges and universities; non-profit or for-profit research organizations/institutions; entities with experience working with school nutrition professionals and/or the school food service industry to improve the nutritional quality of school meals.

Sub-grants may be awarded to entities such as school districts, food producers, suppliers, distributors, and/or community partners, who will work with a variety of partners including, but not limited to, other school districts, non-profit organizations, and food industry representatives. Sub-grantees include school districts, food producers, suppliers, and distributors, and community partners from the contiguous United States, Hawaii, Alaska, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the United States Virgin Islands.

The Cooperator(s) and/or their partners must have experience working with school districts, food producers, suppliers, and distributors, and/or community partners. The Cooperator(s) and/or its partners must demonstrate expertise in school foodservice and in working with school nutrition professionals to improve the nutritional quality of school meals. All applicants and/or its partners must have demonstrated experience in awarding and managing grants or sub-grants.

Schools and school districts are not eligible entities for this award.

Pre-Proposal Conference
An informational webinar will be held for potential applicants on November 17, 2022 3:00-4:00 PM ET, with a repeat of the webinar on December 7, 2022 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET. This webinar will provide background information on the Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative, information on who is eligible to apply, the application process, application requirements, and evaluation and scoring criteria. Applicants are encouraged to attend

Interested entities may plan to attend the webinar to learn more about the RFA and ask questions. All questions posted via email or on the webinar will be posted in a Q&A document and made available publicly 2 weeks after the Informational Webinar.

Submit questions in advance of this informational webinar to

Accessibility: This webinar will be offered with closed captioning. Participants who require a different accessibility tool to participate in this webinar, please reach out by Nov 11th or Nov 30th to Sheila Kopczynski for assistance at or (208) 202-2811.

For more information and to register online:

Pre-Application Information
- Release Date: November 10, 2022
- Informational webinars: November 17, 2022 and December 7, 2022
- Letter of Intent due date (Optional): January 9, 2023 by 11:59 pm ET. A Letter Of Intent is optional. If the eligible applicant wants to submit a LOI, it should be received by the deadline indicated.
- Application Due Date: February 1, 2023, 11:59 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST). Applications received after the deadline are deemed ineligible.
- Anticipated Award Announcement Date: March 2023

Applications not submitted via will not be considered.

Complete the following at least four weeks prior to submission:
- Obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI);
- Register in the System for Award Management (SAM); and,
- Register in

USDA FNS will only accept one application for this RFA from each applicant.

Funds will made available to the Cooperator(s) at the start of the cooperative agreement and the Cooperator(s) will draw down funds as needed to effectively implement the cooperative agreement. Funds will be available to the Cooperator(s) after the start of the performance period and in advance of need.

About the Healthy Meals Incentives program:

View the opportunity at
For related documents, press the Package tab (click Preview) on the page above.

Informational Webinar:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants
Development and Implementation of Healthy Meals Incentives School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants FNS will award up to four (4) cooperative agreements.

Estimated Size of Grant
- Award Ceiling: $50,000,000
- Award Floor: $12,500,000

Term of Contract
The anticipated period of performance for this agreement will be March 2023 to December 31, 2028.

Contact Information
Please submit your letter of Intent to Grant Officer Anna Arrowsmith at

For questions regarding this solicitation, please contact:
Anna Arrowsmith, Grant Officer
Grants and Fiscal Policy Division
U.S. Department of Agriculture, FNS
1320 Braddock Place, Suite 620
Alexandra, VA 22314

RFP & Supporting Documents

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