Princeton Montessori School has been chosen to receive a Farm to School Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)! The grants were designed by the USDA to help farm to school programs get started or expand existing efforts. This money will help our school to further develop the farm to school programming and partner with West Windsor Plainsboro Regional District to develop and scale the farm to school program with lasting impacts at the regional level in Mercer county.
Alex Cardona, Parent Association Farm to School Program Chair, received the good news in a letter this summer:
Congratulations! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has selected Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey to receive a Fiscal Year 2018 Farm to School Planning Grant. Hundreds of applicants across the country competed for a limited amount of funding. The overwhelming interest in this round of USDA Farm to School Grants was exciting but also made the selection process extremely difficult. Your application stood out because it demonstrated your strong experience and readiness to conduct farm to school initiatives; showed that you are thinking critically about opportunities and challenges; outlined goals that are closely aligned with FNS goals for the program; proposed a reasonable scope and budget; and gave us confidence that your farm to school program will be implemented with or without continued Federal support.
The essence of the grant application is for NOFA NJ, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District and Princeton Montessori school, along with supporting consultants to develop a farm to school “playbook” that results in:
- Increased Farm to school educational programming that is age appropriate and primes the child for experiential learning, becoming a consumer of local and healthier foods; and on becoming a steward of their local environment.
- Increased impact to other schools and students in a way that will challenge us to scale from our humble beginnings and that provides an opportunity to share for a greater good.
- Increased consumption of local foods taking into account inputs from a broad range of stakeholders including farmers, parents, food distributors, chefs, teachers, staff and more.
- Investment in local farmers in our community that rewards the very few caretakers of the earth who devote their work towards growing healthier foods and that have so much to offer our youth.
Thank you to parent, Alex Cardona, and his team for all their hard work in applying for this grant! This ‘Farm to School’ initiative aligns so beautifully with our Montessori value of connecting children to the earth and becoming good stewards of its gifts and bounties.