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Monday, October 19, 2020

FW: The 2021 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open!


Please see information below regarding the USDA Farm to School Grant opportunity for fiscal year 2021. The request for applications is open, and the deadline to apply is Friday January 8, 2021.


Be well,


Colleen Matts

(she, her, hers)

Farm to Institution Specialist

Coordinator, Michigan Farm to Institution Network

Core Partner, National Farm to School Network

Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems | 517.432.0310 | |


In response to the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems team members are working remotely and refraining from travel or attending in-person meetings. Our response time may be a bit slower than normal due to family and community responsibilities. 



From: USDA Food and Nutrition Service <>
Reply-To: "" <>
Date: Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:07 PM
Subject: The 2021 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open!



united stated department of agriculture logo



Volume 7,  Issue 1, October 2021

The Dirt


The 2021 Farm to School Grant Request for Applications is Now Open!

Girls feeding a goat a carrot

The Office of Community Food Systems is very excited to continue the Farm to School Month celebrations by announcing the official release of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA).

USDA will award up to $10 million in competitive grants to eligible entities through the Farm to School Grant Program in FY 2021. Each grant helps implement farm to school programs that increase access to local food in eligible schools, connect children with agriculture for better health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture. Since the program's inception in 2013, USDA has awarded over $52 million through Farm to School Grants, funding a total of 719 projects across all 50 States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico, reaching almost 21 million students in 47,000 schools.

The RFA includes three tracks—Implementation, State Agency, and a new Turnkey track—to support a variety of projects and implementation stages. Each track provides funding for a specific range of activities:

  • Turnkey grant funding amounts vary depending on the project type. There are four project types. Funding is available in amounts up to $50,000 for three Turnkey projects: (1) farm to school action plan development; (2) agricultural education curriculum development and delivery; (3) edible gardening. State agencies may receive awards of up to $25,000 for the fourth Turnkey project type, the USDA farm to school producer training project. To streamline the application process, required activities are fully specified within the RFA and Turnkey applicants submit a simplified proposal narrative.
  • Implementation grant awards range from $50,000-$100,000. An Implementation grant works well for eligible entities with prior farm to school experience, helping scale up or further develop existing farm to school initiatives. Some examples of activities in Implementation grants include (but are not limited to) training and technical assistance, supply-chain development, evaluation activities, conducting a regional farm to school institute, creation of promotional materials or campaigns, and formation of networks or coalitions.
  • State Agency grant awards range from $50,000-$100,000 to help State agencies seeking to improve access to local food served in eligible Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) by incorporating local procurement and agricultural education activities. Eligible State agencies include any State-level agency working to promote farm to CNP activities, such as State Departments of Education, Health, or Agriculture.

A wide variety of entities are eligible to compete for funding through this grant opportunity. Eligible schools, State and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, small- to medium-sized agricultural producers or groups of small- to medium-sized agricultural producers, and non-profit organizations are eligible for Farm to School grants. New for FY 2021, institutions operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at non-school based sites are included in the definition of eligible schools and may apply for funding.

Please note that eligibility varies by grant track. Please see sections 3.0 through 3.4 of the RFA for specific eligibility requirements. A Frequently Asked Questions document will be available soon on the Farm to School Grant Applicant Resources Page ( ).

Certain entities are eligible for priority consideration if they meet criteria defined in the RFA. FY 2021 Farm to School Grant awards will offer priority scoring incentives to applications serving at least 40% of students who are eligible for free or reduced price meals; applications from Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) and entities serving tribal communities; applications from agricultural producers and groups of agricultural producers; and projects located in or targeting Opportunity Zones. Agricultural producers and groups of agricultural producers are a new priority for FY 2021. For more information, please see Section 1.4 of the RFA.

The Grant RFA can be found online here. Complete applications must be submitted on by 11:59pm ET on Friday January 8, 2021. In order to apply, applicants must obtain a DUNS number, register in the System for Award Management (SAM), and register in Applicants are encouraged to begin this process early. For more information, please see Section 4.7 of the RFA.

Check out the OCFS resources for grant applicants and see a list of prior grantees' project descriptions for proposal inspiration!

Register Now! FY 2021 Farm to School RFA Webinars

Girl picking green beansJoin OCFS for two webinars in November to review the important details of the FY 2021 Farm to School Grant RFA and review key characteristics of competitive Farm to School Grant applications. 

To register, click each hyperlinked webinar. After clicking the link, select "register" next to the event status. You will be required to provide your name and email address. You should receive a calendar invite for the webinar with the WebEx link, once you have registered.

If you are unable to attend, both webinars will be recorded and made available on the Resources for Grant Applicants page.

Tuesday November 10th, 2020 | 2:30pm ET – Getting Familiar with the FY 2021 Farm to School RFA

This webinar will provide an overview of the FY 2021 Farm to School Grant Program RFA, including updates to eligibility, new turnkey programs and more. Get familiar with the requirements of the RFA and how to submit your completed application on

Friday November 13th, 2020 | 2:30pm ET – Getting Your Grant Package Together

During this webinar, we will explore the key characteristics of a competitive Farm to School Grant application. We will review the required components and provide technical assistance on how to submit a complete application. Attendees will learn tips and tricks for writing a succinct application that clearly outlines your farm to school project.   


The Dirt is a monthly publication of USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Community Food Systems, providing news and resources for Farm to School Grantees and all readers who want to know what is new and exciting in farm to school.

Learn more at or contact us at 

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