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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 24-586



Farm-to-School Grant Program; 2024-2025 Program Guidelines

[54 Pa.B. 2233]
[Saturday, April 27, 2024]

 The Department of Agriculture (Department) announces the program requirements and application period for grants under the Farm-to-School Program (Program). The Program is a grant program authorized under the Farm-to-School Act (act) (3 Pa.C.S. §§ 10901—10910). The Department intends to make up to $500,000 available for grants under the Program. Funding is contingent upon 2024-2025 budget appropriations. These program guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Commission for Agricultural Excellence and the Department of Health.

 1. Program objective.

 The purpose of the Program is to educate prekindergartners through eighth graders and their families about the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods and increase awareness of agriculture in this Commonwealth. This initiative will also aid farmers in this Commonwealth in gaining access to new markets within this Commonwealth.

 2. Eligible applicants and projects.

 (a) Eligible applicants. A school district, school, charter school, private school or center with prekindergarten classes, kindergarten classes, elementary classes or middle school classes through the eighth grade that participates in a Federal child nutrition program may submit an application to the Department for funding a program.

 (b) Eligible projects. Grants will be awarded to develop the Program in this Commonwealth. Eligible projects are those that do all of the following:

 (1) Educate prekindergartners through eighth graders and their families about the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods and increase awareness of agriculture in this Commonwealth.

 (2) Achieve one or more of the following objectives of the Program:

 (i) Nutrition education involving student participation which is integrated into regular subjects in the curriculum of primary and secondary education institutions.

 (ii) Focusing on locally grown foods provided from farms in this Commonwealth.

 (iii) Equipping teachers and other educators to incorporate nutrition and agriculture education into their instruction.

 (iv) Providing for new direct marketing opportunities for farmers in this Commonwealth.

 (v) Providing for family and community involvement, including parent, caregiver and community group participation in education activities.

 (vi) Visits to nearby farms for school children so they may understand and learn more about the sources of their food.

 (3) Contain one or more of the following elements:

 (i) The procurement of food and food products, or food-producing plants, from a farm in this Commonwealth.

 (ii) Nutrition and agriculture education, including integration into regular classroom subjects.

 (iii) Training of teachers, cafeteria staff and other educational staff on nutrition and agriculture education.

 (iv) The inclusion of parents, caregivers and community groups in educational activities.

 (v) Field trips to farms in this Commonwealth or other direct agricultural educational experiences which teach children about sources of food and agriculture in this Commonwealth.

 (vi) Provision for reimbursement of up to 75% of the costs for purchasing locally grown foods provided from farms in this Commonwealth and foods purchased directly from farmers in this Commonwealth to meet the objectives set forth in paragraph (2)(ii) and (iv).

 (vii) An eligible applicant may use a grant to establish a school garden or pollinator habitat.

 3. Definitions.

 The following words and terms have the following meanings:

''Department.'' The Department of Agriculture of the Commonwealth.

''Program.'' The Farm-to-School Program.

''Secretary.'' The Secretary of the Department.

 4. Limitations on grants.

 (a) Total funds available. The Department intends to make up to $500,000 available for grants under the Program for Fiscal Year 2024-2025. Grant funds will be awarded on a funds-available basis. The Department need not expend all the funds that are available for the Program.

 (b) Project duration. A project must have a completion date of no later than June 30, 2026.

 (c) Reimbursement grants. Grant funds will be awarded as reimbursement grants.

 (d) Percentage cap. A single grant shall be limited to 75% of the cost of the project identified in the grant application.

 (e) Per-school cap. Grant amounts shall not exceed $15,000 annually, per school.

 (f) In-kind support. Grant recipients may use the value of in-kind support to match the amount granted.

 (g) Additional restrictions. The Secretary may impose additional restrictions or special conditions upon the issuance of a grant.

 5. Applications.

 (a) Electronic applications only. Interested applicants must submit a complete grant application using the Department of Community and Economic Development's Electronic Single Application web site at www.esa.dced.

 (b) Application content. The application shall require the applicant to explain how the project for which grant funds are sought is an eligible project as described previously in section 2(b) and other information as the Department may reasonably require.

 (c) Application window. Completed applications may be electronically submitted beginning April 29, 2024. Applications must be received by no later than 4 p.m. on June 7, 2024.

 6. Review of application. The Secretary will review and evaluate applications and supporting documents for completeness, and will evaluate applications based on the following considerations:

 (1) The ability of the applicant to complete the Program.

 (2) The ability of the applicant to incorporate all of the Program requirements under 3 Pa.C.S. § 10904(c) (relating to grant program).

 (3) The location of the school in an area where a high percentage of the children are eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals.

 (4) The potential of the Program to increase knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating habits for the children, their caregivers and the community.

 (5) The potential of the Program to increase knowledge about agriculture in this Commonwealth for the children, their caregivers and the community.

 (6) The ability of the applicant to procure foods in this Commonwealth and products or plants for the applicant's program.

 (7) The potential of the Program to increase markets for agricultural producers in this Commonwealth.

 (8) The number of people who will be served by the Program.

 (9) The ability of the applicant to sustain the Program.

 (10) The overall performance of the applicant if a grant was received in a previous year.

 7. Notice of disposition of application.

 The Department will provide an applicant written notice (by regular mail or e-mail) of the acceptance or rejection of a grant application.

 8. Grant agreement.

 After the Secretary approves a grant application, and as a precondition to the Department's release of grant moneys to a successful applicant, the Department and the applicant will execute a written or electronic Grant Agreement which describes the terms and conditions subject to which the grant is made. The Grant Agreement shall contain and conform to the requirements of this notice and shall also contain special terms and conditions as required by the Secretary. Applicants who wish to view the full terms and conditions of the Grant Agreement in advance of submitting an application may contact the Department at the address in section 10. Applicants who are unable to agree to the terms and conditions should not submit an application.

 9. Verification of project completion.

 (a) General. Within 30 days of completion of the subject project, the applicant shall provide the Department with proof of the completion of the project and eligibility to receive reimbursement grant funds from the Department.

 (b) Required documentation. The proof described in subsection (a) shall consist of:

 (1) copies of invoices for goods or services directly related to the project, along with the written certification of the president or treasurer of the applicant that the goods or services that are the subject of the invoices have been delivered or provided to the applicant; and

 (2) a certificate of completion, signed by its president or treasurer, verifying completion of the subject project and stating that the grant funds will reimburse the applicant for a portion of the costs incurred by the applicant in completing the subject project.

 10. Questions and additional information.

 Questions regarding this Program, including the online application process, may be directed to Patrick Andrews, Bureau of Market Development, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Room 310, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 772-1429,


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 24-586. Filed for public inspection April 26, 2024, 9:00 a.m.]

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