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Grants to USA School Food Authorities, Farmers, Processors, Agencies, and Nonprofits to Improve Food Served in K-12 Schools

Partnerships for Local Agriculture and Nutrition Transformation in Schools (PLANTS)


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( [0] => Guam (USA); [1] => Puerto Rico (USA); [2] => Virgin Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Conference Date: 11/29/23
Deadline: 01/22/24 10:00 PM ET Receipt Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA and territories school food authorities partnered with farmers, processors, suppliers, agencies, and nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of food served in K-12 schools. Funding is intended to provide schoolchildren with fresher, more nutritious food options at school while also supporting local agriculture. Partners must be based in the contiguous United States, Hawaii, Alaska, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the United States Virgin Islands.

Projects should seek to build and strengthen relationships among community-based food system stakeholders and School Food Authorities (SFAs) as well as expand scratch cooking in schools in order to build more nourishing school meal programs.

In the context of this grant opportunity, “local” is defined as areas ranging in scale from as small as a single school district to as large as a group of neighboring states or another type of defined region (for example, a tribal area or watershed).

To support the success of their projects, grantees will additionally receive individualized and in-depth technical assistance as well as tools, training, and resources from the PLANTS Project Team: Chef Ann Foundation, Kitchen Sync Strategies Collaborative, Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, and National Farm to School Network.


  1. Build and strengthen relationships among community-based food system stakeholders, such as school food professionals, local farmers, distributors, aggregators, parents, students, and/or other organizations and populations who are impacted by school food supply chains
  2. Improve school food supply chain coordination to support the shared values and needs (environmental, economic, regulatory, etc.) of local farmers and other food producers as well as K-12 schools
  3. Increase awareness of and access to K-12 markets among small- and mid-scale and historically underserved food producers, aggregators, and processors
  4. Expand scratch cooking operations in K-12 schools to both provide more nourishing, high quality, and culturally inclusive meals to students as well as incorporate more local and sustainably produced ingredients into meals
  5. Establish a sustainable approach and best practices for improving K-12 school food systems that are scalable and can be adopted by other schools and community stakeholders

Eligible Expenses:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
- Projects must be collaboratively administered by at least three local Partners (including a Lead Partner). A maximum of five Partners can be named on the application.
- Groups of partners must include at least one School Food Authority (SFA). Other partners may include food producers (including farmers, ranchers, and fishermen), processors, manufacturers, suppliers, and/or distributors; cooperative extensions; local government agencies; and/or community-based food support organizations.
- The Lead Partner must have a demonstrated history of building a nutritious school food program and/or developing strong local food systems that serve K-12 schools. The Lead Partner will be responsible for coordinating all grant activities and reporting requirements.
- All Partners must be located within 250-miles of the Lead Partner. Partners must be based in the contiguous United States, Hawaii, Alaska, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the United States Virgin Islands.

Pre-Proposal Conference
An informational webinar will be held on November 29, 2023 at 12 P.M. ET.

This 60-minute webinar will provide an overview of the funding opportunity, a deep dive into the PLANTS application, and a Q&A. Opening remarks will be provided by USDA Food and Nutrition Services Administrator Cindy Long.

Please note: only the first 1,000 attendees will be able to enter the webinar. If the webinar reaches capacity before you join, you will be sent the recording video within 36 hours.


Pre-Application Information
Important Application Dates
- Informational webinars for potential applicants:
-- Sneak Peek Webinar: October 30, 2023 at 12pm Eastern Standard Time (EST)
-- Launch Webinar: November 29, 2023 at 12pm EST
- Request for Applications (RFA) released: November 27, 2023
- Application deadline: January 22, 2024, 10pm EST
- Grant awards announced: March 18, 2024
- Grant period of performance: April 1, 2024 - June 30, 2027

PLANTS Sneak Peek Webinar (recording):

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants

Estimated Size of Grant
Using a competitive process, USDA and CAF will award grants between $500,000 and $600,000.

Term of Contract
Grant Period of Performance: April 1, 2024 - June 30, 2027

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