More than $2.1 million will provide meals to students and build demand for farmers

DES MOINES, Iowa (September 28, 2022) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today, as part of Iowa’s Local Food Day, that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will provide more than $2.1 million in grants to Iowa schools as part of the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS). The grants, offered in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will provide Iowa public and private schools with money to purchase meat, produce, and dairy products from local farmers.

“These grants provide yet another way that we can assist our schools with providing fresh, nutritious, and delicious meals to students while also building demand and markets for Iowa meat, produce, and dairy products,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “As we continuously pursue efforts to shorten the distance from farm to plate, improve our supply chain resiliency, and foster long-term connections between students, schools, and farmers, initiatives like the Local Food for Schools program are helpful and important.”

Iowa farmers interested in participating in the program can fill out the Producer Registration Form.

Iowa public and private schools participating in the National School Lunch Program can apply for the grants. The approved schools will receive funding to purchase food from local farmers and food hubs. Schools may choose a $4000 grant for produce, a $4000 grant for protein and certain dairy products, or both.

Approved schools will be assigned a food hub sponsor to help coordinate the purchases. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is partnering with the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (Iowa Valley RC&D), Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and Iowa’s Food Hub Managers Working Group (FHMWG) to strategically implement the program in Iowa and to build the capacity for local procurement. 

Applications from schools will be approved on a rolling basis and must be submitted by November 1, 2022. The expenses must be incurred between October 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. Any unspent funds will be available for the 2023-2024 school year. The grant period ends February 28, 2024, and all funds must be spent prior to that date.  

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