Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will establish a People's Garden School Pilot Program to develop and run community gardens at eligible high-poverty schools; teach students involved in the gardens about agriculture production practices, diet, and nutrition; and evaluate the learning outcomes. This is a $1 million pilot program and a cooperative agreement will be awarded to implement a program in up to five states. To be eligible as project sites, schools must have 50% or more students qualifying for free or reduced-price school meals.
Part of a broad USDA effort to provide children with access to a nutritious and safe diet, this initiative also aims to influence healthier choices for all American households. Produce raised in the gardens can be used in the schools' meals and by student households, local food banks, or senior center nutrition programs.
Through this pilot program, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service seeks to identify models of successful school garden initiatives which then can be marketed to the K-12 community for inspiration, ideas, and replication.
The grant is available to public and not-for-profit organizations. Grant applications may be submitted by email to: [email protected] or through www.grants.gov. The Request for Applications is available on-line at http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/outreach/grants/garden.htm. The deadline for applications is November 8, 2010.