Deadlines to apply for Arkansas School Garden, Arkansas Taste Test grants extended

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 514 views 

Kindergartners at Fairview Elementary School in Fort Smith work on making salad from greens grown in school gardens.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline for applications to the Arkansas School Garden Grant program and the Arkansas Taste Test Grant program through Jan. 25. The Arkansas School Garden Grant Program is available to help schools start or expand gardens on school grounds. The department will award $500 grants to 50 schools to purchase soil, specialty crop seeds and plants, and gardening equipment.

The Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program is available to help schools lead cafeteria taste tests of locally-grown specialty crops. The department will award $250 grants to 20 schools to purchase kitchen equipment and utensils, serving materials, and specialty crop seeds and plants.

“School gardens and taste tests have proven to be valuable tools in teaching children about agriculture, nutrition, and a variety of skills,” said Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “The lessons learned through these programs can have a lasting impact on children, their families, and entire communities.”

The grant programs are available to public and private K-12 schools, early care facilities, and alternative learning environments. All eligible schools are encouraged to apply, whether they already have existing farm-to-school activities or they are just getting started with school gardens and local procurement. Technical assistance is available to all grantees.

The application for both programs can be found at this link. Applicants are welcome to apply for one or both grant opportunities within the same application.

Both grant programs were developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to increase the production and consumption of specialty crops in schools. Specialty crops as defined by the USDA are fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, floriculture, and nursery crops.