Lake Quinault School receiving funding for Washington-grown foods in school meals

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has offered $350,000 in Farm to School Purchasing grants to 24 applicants for the grant period July 2024 – June 2025. 

School districts, childcare providers, a tribal school and native-led early learning center will use the grants to serve foods grown, raised, caught, or foraged by producers in Washington state. 

WSDA received 37 applications this round with requests totaling over $1 million, more than triple the available funding. This is the second round of funding made available during the 2023 – 2025 biennium, with $3.7 million awarded in Fall 2023 for a total of over $4 million across 128 Farm to School Purchasing Grant awards this biennium. 

To maximize reach while ensuring impact of grant funds, WSDA awarded most school district applicants in both funding rounds with partial funding, while recognizing the need is much greater as competition for grant funds has increased.

Grant amounts for the current period range from $1,000 to $96,000. 

In this round of funding, it included $12,000 offered to the Lake Quinault School District for school meals.

Awarded applicants will use the grant funds to expand their farm to school connections with purchases of eligible Washington-grown foods. 

Awardees may use up to 25% of their total grant for costs such as materials, supplies, equipment and labor that directly support the development and sustainability of their efforts to include and highlight foods grown and raised in Washington state as an ongoing part of their child nutrition programs.

To date, WSDA has awarded 268 Farm to School Purchasing Grants across four funding cycles, totaling $8.4 million to support new, continued and expanded farm to school purchasing relationships.

“One of our goals with this grant program is to strengthen Washington’s food systems at the regional level, while helping to ensure that more locally-produced food is consumed by children in our schools,” Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison said.

 

The Washington state 2023 – 2025 biennium budget includes $5 million in ongoing funding for WSDA’s Farm to School program, including the Farm to School Purchasing Grant Program.

For more information, visit agr.wa.gov/FarmToSchool or email [email protected]. The grant program is part of WSDA’s Focus on Food Initiative, ensuring safe, nutritious, local food is effectively produced and available throughout our state.