State, school officials announce launch of new Farm to School grant program at Gaffney Elementary

Published on Tuesday, 26 October 2021 14:51
Written by Jeniece Roman


NEW BRITAIN – Local school and state officials visited Gaffney Elementary School Tuesday to announce the launch of a new Farm to School grant program.

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and state Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt spoke at the school in New Britain about the grant program in partnership with FoodCorps. In recognition of the CT Grown for CT kids program, the grant covers four categories: infrastructure, experiential learning, farm to school planning and the Pilot CT Grown Purchasing program.

“Farm to school programs offer so many opportunities in Connecticut for our farmers, for our young people, educators and for our community. I’m really proud of the progress that we have made in our state in increasing the momentum of the farm to school effort,” Bysiewicz said. “It’s the three ‘C’s, classroom, cafeteria and community.”

The statewide grant program will help to establish Farm-to-School programs throughout schools. The grant will be administered by the Department of Agriculture with $500,000 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (APRA). Each year of the pilot program $250,000 will be distributed to school districts participating in the program.

Superintendent Nancy Sara spoke about the schools’ greenhouse and the importance of children having access to green spaces and being able to grow their own food.

“In these urban centers there's a lot of concrete and a lot of black top, but to bring back the dirt, bring back the food that our students to eat, and just the connection to our culinary programming now that we have,” Sarra said.

The grant will be available for curriculum design and implementation to integrate school garden; hands-on taste testing, field trips, farmer visits and professional development of staff. Additionally, the funding will allow for food processing and storage equipment and school garden materials.

“It’s a great way for them to learn, to have wonderful nutrition, and maybe even become a farmer themselves,” Bysiewicz said. “This is a wonderful initiative for our children.”

State Department of Education Bureau Chief John Frassinelli, Representative Bobby Gibson; Representative Bobby Sanchez, FoodCorps Director Dawn Crayco and New Britain ROOTS Executive Director Joey Listro also spoke about the program.

“A grant program like this which crosses different sectors between agriculture and education really was a commitment to the values each of those hold and that we need to bridge the gap between the two,” Listro said.

Eligible applicants include local and regional boards of education, regional education centers, cooperative arrangements, childcare centers, group child care homes and family child care homes, or any organization or entity administering or assisting in the development of a farm-to-school program. Grant will be awarded to $24,999 with no match required to access funds. Applications are due by December 20, 2021 at 4 p.m. and educators can apply on the CT Grown website.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 26 October 2021 14:51. Updated: Tuesday, 26 October 2021 14:54.