California Department of Food and Agriculture announces Farm to School Incubator Grant recipients — $1.4 million to nine Lassen County applicants

The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced it has awarded $25.5 million to 120 Farm to School Incubator Grant Programs statewide, including $1.4 million to Lassen County applicants.

According to a statement from CDFA, it funded $6.8 million for 50 Track 4 (California Farm to School Producer Grant) projects.

Lassen County’s Track 4 recipients include Aida Fuentes ($150,000); Edith Higgins ($141,148.52); the Local Area Revitalization Project Cooperative, Inc. ($150,000); Lovestead Farms ($150,000); Marisol Gonzales ($150,000); Mile High Mill and Grain Company ($150,000); North State Poultry ($149,956.25); Rachelle Benson, ($150,000); and Rustic Rancher ($101,988.60).

According to the statement, “Track 4 funds California food producers. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on increasing production, processing and/or distribution of whole or minimally processed foods for the school food market, as well as providing hands-on educational opportunities for youth that complement their food sales or donations to schools.”

According to a statement from CDFA, it funded $13 million for 53 Track 1 (California Farm to School K-12 Procurement and Education Grant) projects. The Modoc Joint Unified School District received a $146,165.03 Track 1 grant.

According to the statement, “Track 1 funds public school districts, county offices of education, and directly funded charter schools throughout the state. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on establishing new or expanding existing farm to school programs that: (1) coordinate the school nutrition services program with educational opportunities for students in cafeterias, classrooms, and/or outdoor learning spaces; and (2) procure California grown or produced, whole or minimally processed foods for incorporation into school meals, especially foods that are culturally relevant, climate smart, and from small to midsize food producers, veteran food producers, socially disadvantaged food producers, and/or limited-resource farm households in California; and (3) if desired, employ farm to school staff and/or offer farm to school professional development for staff.

According to a statement from CDFA, it funded $4.6 million for 11 Track 2 (California Farm to School Partnership Grant) projects.

According to the statement, “Track 2 funds regional and statewide farm to school partnerships in California. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on establishing new or expanding existing farm to school initiatives that do one or more of the following: (1) implement farm to school procurement and/or education strategies as part of larger regional or statewide food system development plans in California; and/or (2) increase collaboration and coordination regionally or statewide between California food producers and school nutrition services departments to increase procurement of California grown or produced, whole or minimally processed foods for incorporation into school meals, especially foods that are culturally relevant, climate smart, and from small to midsize food producers, veteran food producers, socially disadvantaged food producers, and/or limited-resource farm households in California; and/or (3) provide farm to school procurement and/or education technical assistance or capacity building support regionally or statewide to more than one farm to school implementing organization, i.e., public school district, county office of education, and/or directly funded charter school.”

Lassen County received no Track 2 awards.

According to a statement from CDFA, it funded$1.2 million for six Track 3 projects.

According to the statement, “Track 3 funds child care centers in California and farm to ECE support organizations. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on establishing new or expanding existing farm to ECE programs that: (1) coordinate food- and garden-based hands-on learning and play opportunities for young children and, if desired, for their families; and (2) procure California grown or produced, whole or minimally processed foods for incorporation into meals, snacks, taste tests, and/or food boxes for young children, especially foods that are culturally relevant, climate smart, and from small to midsize food producers, veteran food producers, socially disadvantaged food producers, and/or limited-resource farm households in California; and (3) offer farm to ECE technical assistance and/or peer learning spaces to ECE staff, ECE teachers, and/or ECE families; and (4) if desired, employ farm to ECE staff.”

Lassen County received no Track 3 awards.