Opportunities are available nationwide to help teachers and school administrators implement or strengthen their farm-to-school programming. Below is a listing of grant opportunities to provide funding for your school and resources available to support your efforts in the classroom.
The Dirt: Farm to School e-Letter: The Dirt is the monthly e-newsletter of the Patrick Leahy Farm to School Program. Stay up to date with the latest information on webinars, program related news, grant funding announcements, and farm to school activity going on near you.
The USDA's People's Garden: Register your school gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects if your public garden benefits your local community, incorporates sustainable practices, educates the public, and collaborates with other organizations in your community. Once you join, USDA will send you a sign to proudly mark your participation in the People’s Garden Initiative and remind you of upcoming People’s Garden news and events, like the new People’s Garden Webinar Series.
Make it Fresh: A Guide to Procuring Local Foods: Assists Child Nutrition Program operators in navigating the regulations by providing information and resources that operators need to successfully incorporate local products into their menus. From the Iowa Department of Education.
Farm to School & Early Care Producer Directory: The Farm to School & Early Care Producer directory can be used to find locally produced food and by producers to list their products available to schools. Schools can contact the producer directly, or create an account to submit a bid request online.
Tammy Stotts, Iowa Farm to School Coordinator: Tammy works to promote the program and connect farmers and schools. She can be reached at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Ag Diversification and Market Development Bureau, phone 515.281.7657 or email email@example.com.
Iowa Farm to School Local Purchase Report: Learn more about what local items schools are purchasing and the prices being paid.
Local Food for Schools: If you are a K-12 school district (public or private) and participating in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs, you are eligible to apply for $4,000 produce and protein awards.
2023 Farm to Summer Campaign: Root for Radishes: The Iowa Farm to Summer Campaign is a statewide effort to promote summer meal sites by celebrating and serving local food throughout the summer months. Focusing on Iowa-grown, summer-ready veggies, the Iowa Farm to Summer Campaign works to increase youth participation at Iowa summer meal sites and support local farmers with new market opportunities.
Iowa Local Food Day - Sept. 27, 2023: To participate in Iowa Local Food Day, sites must serve at least two items (breakfast, lunch or taste-test) with locally-sourced ingredients. Don’t forget about meat, dairy and eggs. Fluid milk is excluded because all schools already serve milk. Participation can be one school or all schools within your district.
Gardening with Kids: Virtual Meet-Ups: Virtual meet-ups are intended to help K-12 school and early childhood educators share teaching and gardening ideas, build their networks, ask questions, and better serve their students. The five meet-ups are open to school and childcare staff, classroom teachers, early care providers, nutrition educators, wellness team members, food service directors, and community partners. The format will be a 10-minute presentation by an educator about success stories in their setting. Discussion and networking will follow.
Great Apple Crunch - Oct. 11, 2023: Join the 2023 Great Apple Crunch to celebrate Iowa farmers, healthy kids, and strong communities this October. Participating in the Crunch is simple: buy, serve, and crunch into locally grown apples.
Choose Iowa Food of the Month Campaign: The Choose Iowa campaign was developed to create support for farmers, drive demand for the products they produce, and generate excitement about agriculture innovation happening in Iowa. Choose Iowa Food of the Month learning activities and promotional materials that feature locally grown and produced foods are available through this website.
Farm to School Cycle Menu: The northeast Iowa Farm to School Cycle Menu was created by school food service directors as an easy way to incorporate more Iowa-grown foods onto school lunch trays. It has over three years of implementation and testing in four school districts ranging in size from 300 to 1,700 students.
Checklist for Retail Purchasing of Local Produce: This checklist is designed for buyers of food service operations to begin the conversation with small-scale local growers about good agricultural practices and food safety.
Procuring Local Foods Resources: Local procurement not only supports increasing economic opportunities for local farmers, but also helps schools and other institutions incorporate wholesome local foods into program meals and encourage children to make healthy food choices. The resources on this page will help ensure child nutrition program operators have the resources and knowledge necessary to incorporate local foods into their day-to-day operations. While many of the resources featured here were developed with K-12 schools in mind, much of the information is equally relevant to early childcare institutions and facilities, as well as summer feeding sites.
Resources - Searchable Database: Resources range from advocacy toolkits and communication tools to state directories and survey results.
School Garden Fact Sheet: Overview of farm-to-school programming, funding, and food safety
Iowa Farm to School Program: Links schools and children with local farmers and organizations to offer fresh, locally-grown food and nutrition based educational opportunities. The program is coordinated by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Department of Education. Farm to School is broadly defined as any program that connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count: Join the 5-2-1-0 network to access the action guide that provides steps in implementing the 5-2-1-0 program and obtain additional resources including fact sheets and activities.
Preschool Teacher Box Lessons: The nine free lessons on this page were designed by extension specialist Teresa Wiemerslage to help early care and education staff identify seasonal foods each month and teach young children about these local foods. The lessons include information about the food, a physical activity, an easy recipe to make in the classroom and other ideas for taste-tests.
The Iowa Beet E-Newsletter: Sign up for the Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition newsletter. Each week, you'll receive news, resources and funding opportunities to support you in your work. Also includes content from the National Farm to School Network—Iowa.
Iowa Farm to School and Early Childhood Procurement Resources: Links to information on menu planning, pricing and ordering, finding local food, and other resources
4-H & Clover Kids: Iowa 4-H is the premiere youth development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This website provides curriculum on youth development, agriculture and natural resources, community and economic development, and human sciences.
Farm to School 101: Overview and Resources: Farm to school is “any program that connects schools and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.” (Iowa Department of Education, 2017)
Farm to School Toolkit Pilot: This resource guide offers brief descriptions of components of farm to school. It also lists answers to questions commonly asked when tackling this type of program.
Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program: On an annual basis, USDA awards competitive farm to school grants that support planning, developing, and implementing farm to school programs. This is an opportunity for all schools in the U.S. In Iowa, recipients have included Waukee Community School District, CAL Community School District (Latimer), Vinton-Shellsburg Community School (Vinton), and Central Decatur Community School District (Leon).
White-Reinhardt Grants: The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture offers the White-Reinhardt Mini-Grant Program to fund projects that will increase agricultural literacy. County and state Farm Bureaus may apply for grants of up to $1,000 for classroom education programs for grades K-12 to initiate new agriculture literacy programs or expand existing programs. Application deadline is June 16, 2023.
White-Reinhardt Scholarships: The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture offers scholarships to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference. This opportunity is for full-time educators and/or volunteers who actively participate in classroom agriculture literacy programs or events. This program is to provide travel expense funds to attend the national conference and then use the information gained to expand their outreach to students regarding food, fiber, and fuel. Applications are due Oct. 15 of the program year.
National Agriculture in the Classroom Scholarship: The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, with support from the CHS Foundation, offers up to 55 scholarships for teachers to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference. The scholarship applications are due in February and the conference is held in June.
CHS Classroom Grant: The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, with support from the CHS Foundation, offers five $1,500 grants to be awarded to K-12 grade core education teachers whose innovative classroom projects use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, nutrition, science, and/or social studies. Application for grant proposals opens in July and the deadline is in September.
The Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program: Through this hands-on science lesson, students will learn about backyard ecology and plant life cycles by growing colossal cabbages and reaping hefty harvests. Students also vie for “Best in State” bragging rights—with a $1,000 scholarship awarded to one student in each participating state. Application deadline is March 1.
Teaching Garden Grants: The American Heart Association Teaching Gardens Network has grants available to support school gardens. Information available in September.
Teaching Gardens Network is a one stop shop for everything schools will need to start or enhance a school garden. By joining the network, teachers gain access to grant opportunities for funding your garden; free gardening materials and resources; digital cross-curricular, standards-based gardening, and nutrition education curriculum; downloadable Teaching Gardens Network certificate; and recognition on their website.
AAE Foundation Classroom Grant Application: Classroom grants can be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. Deadlines are in October and March.
Project Learning Garden Grant: Gardens in the schoolyard are effective outdoor learning spaces for students to engage in inquiry-driven, project-based learning across all disciplines. Project Learning Garden is a holistic program that provides participating schools with the essential elements to establish and support their garden-based learning programs. K-12 schools are eligible for this equipment and support grant valued at $6,000 that includes: five raised beds; soil; compost; seeds; online teacher and school training courses; a mobile cooking cart; standards-based lessons and related science and literacy supplies; gardening and classroom management supplies; and strategies for summer garden maintenance. Application deadline is in September.
Project Learning Garden Rejuvenation Grant includes equipment and support valued at $1,500 for soil, amendments, garden beds, other garden expansion options, and teacher training support. Each selected K-12 school will receive a one-time investment of up to $1,000 in new garden beds, composting systems, irrigation systems, soil and amendments, and more to rejuvenate their garden space. Application deadline is in September.
The Chrysalis Fund fosters the future of entomology through grants to K-12 teachers and other educators who use insects in the classroom to get kids excited about science. Applications are due in August.
Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is dedicated to planting fruitful trees and plants to alleviate world hunger, combat global warming, strengthen communities, and improve the surrounding air, soil, and water. Their programs donate orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, at places such as community gardens, public schools, city/state parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American communities, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries.
Fund for Teachers provides educators with resources needed to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. These grants are used for an unlimited variety of projects designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students, and their school communities. Application opens in October.
Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grants: As a recipient from the estate of Donald Samull, The Herb Society of America established an herb garden grant for elementary school classes grades 3-6. These grants ensure the use of herbs in elementary schools will continue for years to come, a tradition Mr. Samull—an elementary school teacher—used in his classroom to engage and inspire his 3–6 grade students. Applications are due in October.
The Jane Goodall Institute – Roots and Shoots: U.S. educators, individuals, and group leaders may apply for a $250 mini-grant to start, support, or celebrate a community-action project to positively impact people, other animals, and/or the environment.
GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant, from The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening, is designed to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to communities across the U.S. Tax-exempt organizations are eligible for the $500 to $1,500 grant, which can be used for gardening supplies, most expenses are allowable; 50% maximum on personnel such as a garden coordinator or educator. Application deadline is in January.
Youth Garden Grant supports school and youth educational garden projects that enhance the quality of life for students and their communities. In 2023, 50 programs will receive award packages consisting of a cash prize and a variety of gardening tools and supplies. The Application deadline is in October.
Budding Botanist Grant, designed to further the mission of the Klorane Botanical Foundation, will help students learn about plants, explore their world, and inspire them to take care of the life they discover in their local ecosystems. In 2023, 20 schools across the U.S. will be awarded $1,000 each in grant funding. Application deadline is in September.
Little Seeds Pollinator Pals Grant: 20 programs will receive $500 in funding to support the development of new and expansion of existing pollinator gardens. Tax-exempt organizations are eligible. Late spring or early summer application.
Youth Educator Grants support projects by youth educators that encourage youth to try sustainable practices and explore sustainable agriculture as a viable career option. These are for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. $6,000 maximum. Applications are due in November.
Grants for Grades K-5: Do you have an innovative idea for improving science, technology, engineering, and math learning in your classroom? Is your idea a project based learning with measurable outcomes? What do you need to make learning math and science fun for your students? K-5 grade teachers are invited to apply for a Toshiba America Foundation grant of not more than $1,000 to help bring an innovative project into their own classroom.
Grants for Grades 6-12: Do you have an innovative idea for improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in your classroom? Is your idea a project based learning with measurable outcomes? What do you need to make learning STEM subjects fun for your students? 6-12 grade teachers are invited to apply for a Toshiba America Foundation grant of up to $5,000 and more than $5,000 to help bring an innovative project into their own classroom.
TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers awards funding for innovative science proposals submitted by educators in three areas: environmental science; physical science; and integrating literacy and science.
Local Community Grants are for a K-12 public or nonprofit private school, charter school, community/junior college, state/private college or university; or a church or other faith-based organization, and range from $250 to $5,000. Proposed projects must benefit the community at large.
Bee Grant allows for K-12 schools or nonprofit organizations that serve any grades K-12 to start a new or enhance an existing bee program hosting live bees on their campus. $1,500 monetary award or an equipment grant. Application opens in September.
Garden Grant Program provides a $3,000 monetary grant to support a new or existing edible educational garden at either a: K-12 school, 501(c)(3) nonprofit working in partnership with a K-12 school, or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This $3,000 monetary grant can be used for edible educational garden or personnel such as a garden coordinator or educator. Application opens in February.
Hydroponics STEM Program Grant is your opportunity to bring a hydroponic garden, STEMworks-accredited program to your school. This $8,000 grant covers 80% of the program costs and includes 20 hydroponic systems with enough production to create farmers markets at your school. All K-12 schools are welcome to apply until all grants have been awarded. The grant, valued at $10,000, includes a hydroponic system seeds, planting pods and nutrients, curriculum, video tutorials, comprehensive hydroponics manual, teacher training, and online support for one year. 80% off full cost (schools pay $2,000 instead of $10,000).
Outdoor GardenConnect STEM Program Grant: By participating in this program, teachers at your school will be supported by the GardenConnect team through virtual workshops and/or webinars, 1:1 virtual consulting with GardenConnect coordinators, access to their resource library, STEMWorks accredited curriculum for grades K-5, middle school, and high school health curriculum, and K-12 financial literacy lessons, in addition to access to their virtual academy, which provides educational videos that pair with the curriculum. This is an equipment and support grant valued at $3,500 that includes curriculum, video tutorials, comprehensive hydroponics manual, teacher training and online support for one year. 71% off full cost (schools pay $1,000 instead of $3,500).
Lots of Compassion Grant Program is designed to support local leaders looking to transform vacant lots into gardens to help grow compassion in their community. In 2023, 10 grantees will receive $20,000 each to transform a vacant lot into a garden. A total of $200,000 will be awarded annually. Nonprofit organizations, school districts, universities, groups, religious organizations, or other tax-exempt organizations in the U.S. and U.S. Territories are eligible to apply. Applicants must use the funds to build a garden in a vacant lot. Deadline is June 2, 2023.
Gardening Grant: Hands-on gardening gets kids and communities connected with the soil, the food it grows, and each other. This Farm to Early Care and Education Garden Grant offers an opportunity for Licensed Child Development Homes and Licensed Centers to purchase supplies and cover staff time. The grant, from $500 to $2,000, can be spent on gardening supplies, payment to garden design consultants and builders, and staff time for implementation (may not exceed 30% of total funding request). Application opens in March.
Local Food Procurement Grant: Purchasing and serving local food supports kids’ nutrition and local farmers and food hubs. This Farm to Early Care and Education Garden Grant offers an opportunity for Licensed Child Development Homes and Licensed Centers to purchase local food and cover staff time to get local food on your menus. The grant, from $500 to $2,000, can be spent on local food, taste testing supplies, small kitchen appliances, and staff time for implementation (may not exceed 30% of total funding request). Application opens in March.
Family Engagement Grant: Engaging families in your Farm to Early Care and Education initiatives—through garden events, family meals, food education, or virtual surveys and input opportunities—builds relationships and local food connections at home. This Farm to Early Care and Education Garden Grant offers an opportunity for Licensed Child Development Homes and Licensed Centers to plan family engagement opportunities. The award, from $500 to $2,000, can be spent on supplies for hosting events (food, catering services, equipment rental, etc.); resources for hosting virtual engagement opportunities, stipends for family participation; or staff time for implementation (may not exceed 30% of total funding request). Application opens in March.
Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant: The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, in partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, offers grants up to $250 to support the integration of agriculture into regular classroom instruction or after-school programs with an academic focus. Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grants are designed to initiate new projects or expand existing projects that promote agriculture literacy in Iowa. Grants can be used to fund innovative lessons, activities, classroom resources, guest speakers, outreach programs, field trips, and other projects. Preschool through 12th grade teachers, school librarians, and Homeschool Assistance Programs (HSAP) are eligible to apply. Deadline for applying is in January.
Iowa Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award: The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation offers one award to an Iowa educator currently engaged in classroom instruction at the pre-K- 12 grade levels. This award recognizes a teacher for their integrated efforts to teach students about the importance of agriculture. The teacher selected will receive $500 and have up to $1,000 of their related expenses paid to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference. The deadline for applications is in November.