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USDA-NIFA launches Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program

USDA-NIFA launches Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program


Deadline: 4 June 2019

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States of Food and Agriculture (USDA) has launched “Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program” to increase the knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children and to bring together stakeholders from the distinct parts of the food system to increase the capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within host organizations or entities, such as school cafeterias and classrooms, while fostering higher levels of community engagement between farms and school systems.

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The initiative is part of a broader effort to not only increase access to school meals for low-income children, but also to dramatically improve their quality.

Purpose and Priorities

The FASLP purpose is to increase knowledge of agriculture and improve the nutritional health of children. The primary goals of the FASLP are to (7 U.S.C. § 7633):

  • Increase capacity for food, garden, and nutrition education within host organizations or entities and school cafeterias and in the classroom;
  • Complement and build on the efforts of the farm to school programs implemented under section 18(g) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (2 U.S.C. 1769(g));
  • Complement efforts by the Department and school food authorities to implement the school lunch programs established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq,) and the school breakfast program established by section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773);
  • Carry out activities that advance the nutritional health of children and nutrition education in elementary schools and secondary schools (as those terms are defined in section 9101 of the elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C 7801); and
  • Foster higher levels of community engagement and support the expansion of national service and volunteer opportunities.


Food and agriculture service learning activities supported by Food and Agriculture Service Implementation grants may include, but are not limited to:

  • Expanding farm to school programs beyond lunch to bring local or regional products into the School Breakfast program;
  • Operating service projects (e.g. AmeriCorps, VISTA, FoodCorps, local service corps programs, etc.) that support farm to school initiatives in schools;
  • Readying producers to participate in the school food market by providing training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and other food safety-related topics;
  • Providing technical support in the form of face-to-face trainings, consultations, webinars, etc.;
  • Developing promotional campaigns in support of farm to school initiatives;
  • Expanding strategic planning efforts to expand or coordinate efforts across multiple districts;
  • Conducting farm to school evaluation efforts;
  • Establishing new or strengthening existing community partnerships (e.g. working with personnel to identify appropriate suppliers, etc.);
  • Encouraging increased consumption of fruits and vegetables through promotional activities, taste tests, and other activities;
  • Expanding experiential or agriculture-based learning opportunities, such as the creation of school gardens, support to ag/food clubs, or increased exposure to on-farm activities; and,
  • Developing and evaluating integrated curriculum to reinforce food and nutrition-based learning throughout the school environment.

Activities in State agency proposals may include, but are not limited to: hiring of staff to support statewide farm to school initiatives; creation of statewide marketing campaigns or harvest of the month initiatives.

All projects must involve underserved rural and urban communities and facilitate a connection between elementary schools and secondary schools with agricultural producers in the local and regional area.

Applicants are encouraged to seek and create partnerships with public or private, nonprofit or for-profit entities, including links with academic institutions (including minority-serving colleges and universities), and/or other appropriate professionals, community-based organizations, school districts, and local and state government entities.

Preference will be given to applicants who submit Food and Agriculture Service Implementation Projects that (U.S.C § 7633((c)(2):

  • Hold a proven track record in carrying out the purposes described in the RFA;
  • Work in underserved rural and urban communities;
  • Teach and engage children in experiential learning about agriculture, gardening, nutrition, cooking, and where food comes from; and
  • Facilitate a connection between elementary schools and secondary schools and agricultural producers in the local and regional area.

Funding Information

  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $8,694,989
  • Award Ceiling: $225,000
  • Award Floor: $150,000

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants for FASLP must meet all the requirements herein to receive an FASLP award.
  • Application to the FASLP is limited to the following groups: state agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations, foundations, or corporations; individuals; or any group consisting of two or more entities described herein;
  • Applicants must have experience in the area of
    • community food work, including the provision of food to people in low-income communities, including farm to school programs, and the development of new markets in low-income communities working closely with agricultural producers;
    • job training and business development activities, curriculum and development for food-related school activities in low-income communities; or
    • efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating school services and programs;
    • applicants must show evidence of existing community support and engagement with school districts and agricultural producers via no less than three letters of support;
  • Demonstrate competency to implement a project, conduct an evaluation, provide fiscal accountability, collect data, and prepare reports and other necessary documentation;
  • Demonstrate competency in the implementation of a food and agriculture and/or school service learning program;
  • Demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators, practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan for dissemination of results; and
  • Collaborate with one or more local partner organizations to achieve at least one hungerfree communities goal.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online via given website.

For more information, please visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=315257

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