Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a federal grant of $44,919 that will go to the Rochester City School District to establish a farm-to-school initiative, planned to begin the 2013-2014 school year, incorporating regionally produced foods into school meals. The funding is being allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Senator Gillibrand worked hard to include the farm-to-school initiative as part of the Healthy, Hunger Free Schools Act that passed in 2010.
“Connecting our own local farms with local schools is good for the health of our children, and good for our local economy,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in four decades and a leading advocate for improving child nutrition. “Farms of the Rochester-Finger Lakes region are growing some of the highest quality produce. And when we serve our students healthy, nutritious food that’s grown right in our community in the lunchroom, we can strengthen their abilities in the classroom, and strengthen our economy.”
Earlier this year, at the request of Senator Gillibrand, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan headlined a funding workshop at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County in Rochester to review the Farm-to-School Grant Program, and offer insight to schools, food producers and other interested parties on the program’s application process.
The program in Rochester City Schools plans to provide students with the opportunity to eat fresh foods while learning about the nutritional advantages of eating balanced meals. The initiative also plans to train kitchen staff members, upgrade kitchens, and develop instructional lessons for students and families.