PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The South Dakota Department of Education has received a $24,158 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as part of the Farm to School Grant Program, an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and ranchers and increase the amount of local foods served in schools.
South Dakota’s project is one of 65 across 42 states and Puerto Rico receiving support this year.
The South Dakota Department of Education’s Office of Child and Adult Nutrition Services will partner with South Dakota State University Extension and Dakota Rural Action to provide statewide training on farm to school procurement.
“With the rural nature of South Dakota and the importance of agriculture in our state, this grant provides a great opportunity to better connect students and schools to the nutritious food resources that are practically in their backyards,” said South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp.
According to the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, across the country, schools with strong farm to school programs report higher school meal participation, reduced food waste, and increased willingness of students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables.