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Funding Your Farm to School Program

Updated March 28, 2023

Anna Tvedt

SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist

Starting or expanding a farm to school or early care program can come with expenses. However, there are options to help make local procurement, garden, and education projects more possible and affordable.

The following lists (with links) provide examples of options that your program can look into when starting with farm to school or early care and education. These lists are not all-encompassing, but they are a good starting place with resources likely to be available on a recurring basis.

State Funding

Healthy SD funding Opportunities

Offered by the South Dakota Department of Health.

  • Description: Various opportunities to promote and encourage physical activity, healthy eating, and overall health and wellness.
  • Eligibility: Communities, schools, organizations, and businesses.
  • Amount: Varies

Specialty Crop Block Grant

Offered by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

  • Description: Enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops produced in South Dakota.
  • Eligibility: State, local, or tribal governmental entities; nonprofit organizations; research institutions and institutions of higher education; for-profit businesses; and individual producers.
  • Amount: Varies

Federal Funding

Farmer Rancher Grant

Offered by the USDA North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

  • Description: To explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects.
  • Eligibility: Farmers and ranchers.
  • Amount: Up to $30,000

Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant

Offered by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

  • Description: To support planning, developing, and implementing farm to school programs.
  • Eligibility: Schools; local, state, or tribal governments; nonprofits; agricultural producers or groups of producers.
  • Amount: Up to ~$100,000

Programs in the local Foods Supply Chain

Offered by the USDA.

  • Description: This resource lists forty programs offered by USDA related to regional foods and links to more information about each program.

Value-Added Producer Grants

Offered by USDA Rural Development.

  • Description: Help agricultural producers enter value-added activities to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income.
  • Eligibility: Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer-or-rancher cooperatives.
  • Amount: Up to $75,000

Youth Educator Grant

Offered by the USDA North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

  • Description: Support projects encouraging youth to try sustainable practices and explore sustainable agriculture as a viable career option.
  • Eligibility: Youth educator
  • Amount: Up to $6,000

Private and Nonprofit Funding

Kids Gardening Grants

Offered by, Incorporated.

  • Description: Various opportunities for starting and growing youth gardens and for garden-based education.
  • Eligibility: New or existing youth garden programs
  • Amount: Up to ~$1,000

South Dakota Healthy Hometown

Offered by Wellmark, Incorporated.

  • Description: Communities can follow three paths to make improvements: eat well, move more, feel better.
  • Eligibility: Schools, community organizations, and more.
  • Amount: Varies

Supporting Farm to School with Non-Profit Hospital Community Benefit Dollars

Offered by the National Farm to School Network.

  • Description: This resource explains an opportunity to partner with local hospitals.

Walmart Local Community Grants

Offered by Walmart, Incorporated.

  • Description: Areas of funding include education, environmental sustainability, health and human services, hunger relief and healthy eating, and more.
  • Eligibility: Nonprofit organization benefiting the service area of the Walmart facility.
  • Amount: $250 - $5,000

Whole Kids Foundation Grants

Offered by Whole Foods Market.

  • Description: Focused on improving kids' eating habits and health through school meals, grant programs include gardens, salad bars, and school cooking.
  • Eligibility: Schools and non-profit youth organizations.
  • Amount: Varies

Working Here Fund Grants

Offered by Farm Credit Services of America.

  • Description: Focus areas include ag education, young and beginning producers, and hunger and nutrition.
  • Eligibility: Must benefit South Dakota or other Farm Credit Service states.

Related Topics

School Nutrition