Projects in RSU 18 and Downeast Maine have been awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to bring more food grown by local farmers to students.
RSU 18 will receive $44,213 through the USDA’s Farm to School grant program, and Healthy Acadia will receive $100,000.
In its application, RSU 18 noted the district is just beginning to establish a farm to school program that will benefit its 2,768 students, nearly 50 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced price lunch. The grant will help RSU 18 further develop a comprehensive, districtwide program that will help students learn and practice healthy lifestyles in their formative years.
Meanwhile Healthy Acadia, a Healthy Maine Partnership that serves Washington and Hancock Counities, will use its funds to enhance local procurement in Washington County to increase access to healthy food for children across the region and will strengthen the farm economy. Specifically, it will improve distribution, storage, and processing systems that support local farms and food procurement efforts by schools. It will integrate nutrition policies and education in the school systems, providing engagement and learning among students around nutrition, agriculture and foods.