Franklin Community High School has been awarded more than $72,000 in a federal grant to expand its farm-to-table program. The U.S Department of Agriculture awarded this grant to grow the program in Franklin, Indiana, which currently has around 200 students enrolled.
“It never ceases to amaze me when you plant seeds, and it grows, and it becomes something productive and amazing and delicious,” Alicia Geesey, an agriculture teacher at the school, said. “I have loved being able to share that with my students, and it makes every year exciting and new.”
GrantWatch has similar grants available in the form of In-kind donations of fruit trees, equipment, volunteer workers, and training to U.S. nonprofits, public schools, and government entities to create orchards in communal and public places. Funding is to improve the surrounding environment and provide a source of healthy nutrition for the community.
What Is the Program?
In 2019, teachers and FFA members at the school turned the empty land behind the school into a garden. The piece of land is now a nine-acre garden where students have planted several fruits and vegetables, including:
This spring the school’s cafeteria started serving the produce grown in the garden. However, with the new funding, students will be able to eat chickens from the farm as well. Some of the food is also donated to families within Franklin Community Schools.
In the program, students learn about farming and how to take care of different animals. This helps students with an interest in agriculture determine if they want to pursue a future career in the area of study.
GrantWatch has related grants of up to $6,000 available for U.S. educators in multiple states to teach youth about agriculture.
Where Will the Money Go?
Part of the grant will go to hiring a part-time coordinator to oversee the garden and the transfer of the food to the cafeteria. In addition, funding will cover the costs of equipment and training needed to work with raw proteins and vegetables.
According to Geesey, the school also has plans to build an aquaponics system and a hoop house. She said the students are planting apple trees to raise money with hopes of building a barn in the future. The barn would include a classroom, lab, and space for chickens and cattle.
GrantWatch has an entire category just for farming and agriculture grants.
What Are the Benefits of Farm-to-Table Programs?
According to the website for the organization Action for Healthy Kids, farm-to-table programs have shown to have a positive impact on student nutrition. These programs are national movements to help connect children in school to healthy foods and agriculture while supporting farmers and local communities. They can have an impact not just on nutrition but on food insecurity overall.
“By building the capacity for individual behavior change and systemic changes in communities, we ultimately help kids eat better, stay active, strengthen coping skills, and make responsible, healthy decisions.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, schools all over the country are participating in similar programs. In fact in the school year 2018-2019, 42.8M students participated in a farm-to-table program.
In addition, GrantWatch has a category for nutrition-related grants. These grants help to fund initiatives and programs focused on advocating for the health and wellness of the general public.
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