Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Upcoming Farm to School Opportunities!

We’re excited to begin the new year by sharing several farm to school opportunities!
Nationally, the USDA Healthy Meals Incentives for Schools has several School Food System Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants opportunities available/coming soon!
Salad bar with orange carrots and green broccoli
Partnerships for Local Agriculture & Nutrition Transformation in Schools (PLANTS) 

  • PLANTS is administered by the Chef Ann Foundation and the deadline to apply is January 22, 2024

  • Grant funding will go towards projects led by groups of 3-5 local partners within 250 miles of the lead partner. One of the partners must be a school food authority (SFA). 

  • 8 projects will be awarded grants between $500,000 and $600,000. Match funding is not required. 
Supporting Community Agriculture & Local Education Systems (SCALES) 

  • SCALES is administered by Boise State University and the deadline to apply is January 26, 2024

  • Grant funding is only eligible to rural SFAs. 

  • Up to 70 grants will be awarded through 2 cohorts of 35 awardees.  

  • Grants will last for two years and provide up to $150,000 for each SFA to engage in projects to increase local procurement. 
Lake Michigan School Food Systems Innovation Hub 

  • The Innovation Hub is administered by the Illinois Public Health Institute and the Michigan state lead is the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. Applications will be opening February 2024

  • Spark Awards will fund projects that can use a short-term infusion of funds for school food system and marketplace improvements. Awards will range from $10,000 – $75,000. Round 1 Project Timeline: August 1, 2024 – July 31, 2025. 

  • Innovation Collaborative Awards will fund projects that promote systems-level change of the school food system and marketplace. Projects will be awarded $250,000. Round 1 Project Timeline: August 1, 2024 – December 31, 2026. 

  • Save the date! The first pre-launch webinar is on Wednesday, January 24 at 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. EST (English) and 12:00 p.m. CST (Spanish). During this webinar we will come together to learn more about the Innovation Hub and meet your state leads. 
  • English Language Registration
  • Spanish Language Registration
Please note that for all of the opportunities above, once a school food authority (SFA) is the lead applicant on one grant (ex. PLANTS), they cannot receive funding as the lead applicant through another (ex. SCALES). They can however be a supporting partner or secondary applicant on another grant project. Schools cannot receive two funding sources for the same project. 
Additional Resources
  • The Healthy Meals Incentives Recognition Awards program offers awards to celebrate schools that have made significant improvements to the nutritional quality of their meals. Administered by Action for Healthy Kids, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis through June 30, 2025.  

  • The application deadline for the USDA Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program is approaching! This competitive grant program supports “planning, developing and implementing farm to school programs”. Make sure you submit applications by Friday, January 12, 2024

  • The 2023 USDA Farm to School Census is open! All public, charter, and private school food authorities (SFAs) that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in Michigan should have received an email earlier this month with a link to the Census and instructions (from All SFAs are encouraged to participate, whether or not you participate in farm to school activities. Please complete this national survey to be sure that Michigan is well represented!  

About Michigan Farm to School

Farm to School centers around efforts to serve local foods in school and early care and education settings. We share ideas, tools and resources to support a range of efforts, from school garden programming to farmer visits and field trips.

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