U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a grant of $97,662 to the Maryland Department of Agriculture through its Farm to School Program, designed to increase the amount of local foods served in schools.
“This grant will help ensure healthy foods are available to school children while supporting local Maryland farmers in the process,” said Senator Van Hollen, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Combatting hunger, promoting healthy eating, and supporting Maryland agriculture will continue to be priorities of my work in the Senate.”
“Every child has a right to healthy meals, and this grant represents a federal investment both in them and in our local farmers,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “These funds will go a long way toward fighting chronic hunger, promoting Maryland’s farms, and supporting healthy eating habits for our kids.”
The Maryland Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, will engage all of Maryland’s 24 school systems to expand the amount of locally-grown foods procured in the Summer Meals program and increase enrichment programming activities. Statewide activities will include a local food market feasibility study of supply chain partners in Summer Meals, Harvest of the Month summer campaign, technical assistance training, a rural culinary school vegetable processing pilot, and agricultural and nutrition-based activities with a focus on farmers markets and on-site gardens.