The Maine Farm to School Network at Healthy Communities of the Capital Area received a $25,000 USDA Farm to School Training Grant to build K-12 local food procurement capacity in Maine.

Designed to increase the availability of local foods in schools, USDA Farm to School grants can help farm to school programs get started or expand existing efforts, according to a news release from Stephanie Cesario, Maine Farm to School Network coordinator at Healthy Communities of the Capital Area.

“This award will develop the capacity of Maine school food directors to purchase from and support Maine farmers,” said Cesario, in the release. “The funds will support local foods procurement training for food service directors across the state as well as network building.”

The Maine Farm to School Network, in collaboration with other state farm-to-school advocates, will offer local procurement and network building trainings from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 3 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 4 at the 2019 Maine Farm to School Conference at Kennebec Valley Community College Alfond Campus, 677 Skowhegan Road, Hinckley, and at the annual Tri-State (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) school nutrition conference in 2020.

School nutrition directors, food producers, and other farm to school stakeholders can learn local procurement rules and strategies to increase the amount of local foods served in school meals. Participants also can gain a deeper understanding of network building to further strengthen farm to school partnerships across the state.

To learn more about the Maine Farm to School Conference and Maine’s Farm to School initiatives, visit mainefarmtoschool.org.

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