With proposals due April 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking applications for a new round of Farm to School grants.

“USDA’s Farm to School grants connect schools with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses, providing new economic opportunities to food producers and bringing healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a news release.

The Farm to School Grant Program, funded at $5 million annually, is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The legislation funded the agency to assist, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in schools, according to the release. Planning, implementation and support services grants are available with the program, according to the release.

Planning grants are intended for schools just getting started on farm to school activities, while implementation grants are available for schools looking to expand existing efforts, according to the release.

Meanwhile, nonprofit entities, state and local agencies and agriculture producers or groups of producers may apply for support service grants in order to conduct trainings, create complementary curriculum, or further develop supply chains, among other activities, according to the USDA.

The USDA has a series of Web seminars to help prepare applications.

The dates are:

  • March 5, 1 p.m. Eastern, March 5 — Planning Grants
  • March 6, 1 p.m. Eastern, March 6 — Implementation Grants
  • March 7, 1 p.m. Eastern March 7 — Support Service Grants

The USDA’s Farm to School program is a part of the agency’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, launched in 2009, according to the release.

For questions about the grants program, contact USDA at farmtoschool@fns.usda.gov, according to the release.