School nutrition programs across Maine will soon sustainably incorporate local foods into their school meals, thanks to a new Farm & Sea to School Institute hosted by Healthy Communities of the Capital Area. HCCA, the fiscal home of Maine Farm to School, was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from Full Plates Full Potential to support this new program.
Participating schools will work together across a school year–in partnership with Maine’s farm to school leaders–to develop a holistic “farm to school action plan” supporting curriculum integration, school gardens and orchards, school food security, and more.
Maine Farm to School Network has been fundraising to support this school nutrition-led initiative for the past three years, and has now secured four grants to support the program launch: USDA Food and Agriculture Service-Learning Program grant in partnership with UMaine; an Elmina B Sewall Foundation Healthy People Healthy Places grant on centering equity, inclusion, and justice in the programming; and an Onion Foundation grant to support communications work–such as designing the new, original logo! MFSN at HCCA will continue actively fundraising to maintain this new initiative.
“These grants will help sustain the Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute as an annual program supporting six Maine school districts per year to reach their local purchasing goals,” said Stephanie Cesario-DeBiasi, Maine Farm to School Network Coordinator at HCCA. “This program funding benefits students, school nutrition professionals, and food producers across the state—bolstering the local food economy while providing delicious, fresh meals to Maine’s youth.”
To learn more about the Institute, contact [email protected]