Vermont Business Magazine US Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, on Monday announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $395,201 to the Vermont Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) to support Farm to School initiatives across the state, including those getting local foods to childcare centers and preschools.
“Feeding nutritious, local foods to our children has obvious benefits for both children and farmers,” said Leahy, chair of the Senate Appropriations and a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “That is why I led the creation of the national Farm to School program. As is often the case, I was following where Vermonters were already leading the way.”
Leahy authored the Farm to School program as part of the 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, and has introduced legislation to reauthorize the program.
“NOFA-VT will put this money to good use working with farmers to get the foods they are growing onto the breakfast and lunch trays of Vermont children of all ages,” Leahy added.
"The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is honored to be a recipient of an FY 2022 USDA Farm to School Grant,” said Helen Rortvedt Farm to School and Local Food Access Director for NOFA-VT. “As we continue to grapple with the changing educational landscape and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, there is an emerging need to refocus and adapt certain Farm to School and early childhood activities across Vermont and the Northeast to better integrate and serve our farmers and producers. With this grant, NOFA-VT, along with our project partners, will work to strengthen the effectiveness and impact of several timely initiatives in Vermont and the Northeast to get more local food into schools, strengthen market opportunities for local producers, such local food purchasing incentive programs, and get more kids out on farms.”
NOFA-VT will use the funding to provide technical assistance to both farms and schools through the Local Food Purchasing Initiative. NOFA-VT will also bring together groups doing similar work in New York and New England to share expertise.
(MONDAY, Aug. 1, 2022) – Senator Patrick Leahy