WVDA gets grant for school program

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture announced it has received a $68,518 Farm-to-School grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The WVDA was one of 73 projects awarded funds by the USDA. The purpose of the grant is to provide support to local farmers by facilitating additional farm-to-school programs throughout the United States.

“West Virginia was fortunate enough to receive part of this grant. Through these monies, we aim to provide better nutritional options in our schools by sourcing from local West Virginia farms,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “By doing so, we hope to help expand new market opportunities for our farmers.”

The WVDA plans to use the grant monies to develop a Farm-to-School Strategic Plan for the state. The overall mission is to aide local farmers by creating new and cementing existing partnerships, as well as enhancing the quality of food served in schools. Funds from the grant will be used to develop statewide resources, support existing and new operations and host trainings.

“We are excited to expand the farm-to-school initiative in West Virginia. These types of programs are great for promoting economic growth by connecting supply and demand. We hope to increase the availability of local foods to schools statewide,” said WVDA Development Coordinator Cindy Bailey.

For more information about the WVDA farm-to-school, visit https://agriculture.wv.gov/divisions/executive/Pages/Farm-to-School.aspx or contact Cindy Bailey at 304-558-2210 or cbailey@wvda.us.