Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that Oregon will receive nearly $200,000 in Farm to School grants to support partnerships between local farms and school districts. The funding will allow farms to supply schools with local produce, support hands-on agricultural education, and promote healthy eating through family programming, including cooking demonstrations and farm work parties.
The funding is being distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Agricultural success and innovation have long been woven into the fabric of our state,” said Merkley, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the USDA. “I’m pleased that this funding will help us bring some of the magic from our farms to our schools—helping students learn about agricultural science and putting local and nutritional foods in our cafeterias. I’m going to keep using my position on the Appropriations Committee to be a strong partner to Oregon agriculture, and support quality food in Oregon’s schools.”
“Investment in farm-to-school programs has proven itself a surefire recipe both for growing nutritious food and providing Oregon students with agricultural education to last a lifetime,” Wyden said. “I’m glad these Portland groups have earned these federal resources to grow their programs to even greater heights.”
The Friends of Zenger Farm, in collaboration with David Douglas School District and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization SUN Community School at Gilbert Park and Earl Boyles, is being awarded $99,562. The funding will support programming at the schools and on the farm to promote nutrition and hands-on learning, including agricultural education, local produce tastings, cooking demonstrations at school events and food pantries, farm work parties, and Family Farm Day open houses.
Grow Portland, which has previously worked within three school districts, will expand to 16 public schools and boost its community engagement using its $99,235 award. The grant will help make monthly garden and environmental science education available for students, and bring more local produce to schools.