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Pingree Announces $180,058 in Federal Funding for Local School Food Programs

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced that three projects in Maine have received $180,058 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Grant program to support local food procurement and agricultural education in Maine schools.

“Empowering schools to access healthy, locally grown foods will help to transform our food system, connecting kids to the process of getting food on plates. These Farm to School Grants will also give children more nutritious food options and help support farmers in our communities,” said Pingree. “As a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and a longtime organic farmer, I’ve advocated for theseprograms because they help propel a locally driven food system and healthier communities.”

Details of the grants are available below:

  • Alfond Youth Center - $48,386 (Waterville, Maine)
    • The Alfond Youth Community Center (AYCC) will develop an agricultural education curriculum for its childcare programs serving youth four to 18 years of age from Waterville, ME, 80% of whom qualify  for  the  Free  and  Reduced  Lunch  Program.  The  curriculum  will  complement  the  AYCC’s existing Garden to Table program that teaches children how to grow food from seed to harvest  and  prepare  and  cook  the  food  they  grow  in  the  facility’s  42-foot  greenhouse,  outdoor  raised  gardens beds, and kids’ teaching kitchen.  
  • Sheepscot Valley RSU 12 - $99,853 Somerville, Maine 
    • Sheepscot Valley  Regional  School  Unit  12  will  increase  the  sustainability  of  a  growing  farm  to  school  program  by  adding  support  and  resources  for  the  school  nutrition  program  to  increase  engagement between students, classrooms, and community health providers. This program will be a  replicable  model  for  partner  Western  Maine  Foothills  Regional  Unit  10  to  increase  local foods  on  their  menus  and  generate  support  and  enthusiasm  for  healthy  eating  agriculture education and local food providers.  
  • United Charitable - $31,819 Maine 
    • Together  with  committed  partners, ReTreeUS  will  serve  10 schools,  sowing  the  Back  to School  Gardens  concept  to  address  common  challenges  facing  Maine  garden  educators:  maintaining  gardens through summer, growing ample quantities for the cafeteria during the school year and the desire for community connections. Collectively reaching 4,459 PreK-12 students, this project will  equip  schools  with  gardening,  harvesting  and  processing  supplies  and  expertise  in  an  innovative manner that extends the growing season, builds soil, engages local producers, yields bountiful  harvests  and  maximizes  hands-on  garden  learning  opportunities.  Collaborators  will  provide critical contributions: Coast of Maine Organic Products donating compost, Wolfe’s Neck Center  supplying  seedlings,  Independent  Retailers  and  Shared  Services  Cooperative  cultivating  resources  to  ensure  program  sustainability,  and  Maine  Agriculture  in  the  Classroom  supplying  curriculum materials and expertise to align activities to standards

Pingree is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and is the author of the Kids Eat Local Act, bipartisan legislation to support local and regional food systems and encourage healthy meal choices among school-aged children by allowing school systems to ask for “local” as a product specification in procurement requests.




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