The Waterford School District recently became the only district in Michigan to receive one of 68 grants nationwide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the department’s Farm to School initiative.
The district was awarded a $44,900 Farm to School Planning Grant.
Waterford Associate Director for School and Community Services Rhonda Lessel said Farm to School is a program in which schools buy locally produced, farm-fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, meat, and beans.
“Schools also incorporate nutrition-based curriculum and provide students with learning opportunities such as farm visits and gardening. This grant is a planning grant and will allow us to begin looking at ways to incorporate the Farm to School concepts within the district,” Lessel said.
She added that the district’s planning grant projects include identifying local resources that are available so it can implement Farm to School concepts; identifying local foods that can be added to the district’s school menus; training food service staff on Farm to School concepts; and educating the district and community leaders about Farm to School.
Last year, the district saw the opening of the Waterford Community Garden at Waterford Durant High School, in which students from the school maintain the garden and vegetables raised there are donated to hunger relief charities.