Reynolds, Naig Introduce Program to Help Schools Purchase Iowa-Grown Produce, Protein for Students

Grants help schools purchase fresh, locally-grown foods for student meal programs

DES MOINES, Iowa (Aug. 25, 2020) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced the creation of a Local Produce and Protein Program today. Gov. Reynolds has allocated $500,000 through CARES Act funding to help Iowa schools purchase locally-grown products from Iowa farmers impacted by COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions. The funding will be awarded through three grant programs administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. 

“Iowa is at the foundation of our global food supply chain and the epicenter of the renewable fuels industry,” said Gov. Reynolds. “COVID-19 and a devastating derecho dealt a major blow to everything from the demand for ethanol to the supply of meat on grocery store shelves. But just as important are the livelihoods of thousands of Iowa farm families, agricultural industries and the communities they support. Today’s investment reflects the critical role Iowa’s ag industry has in our state's overall economic recovery.”

“Connecting Iowa farmers with schools, early care centers, and places of higher education creates more markets for their products and allows schools to serve students a larger variety of fresh, locally-grown foods,” said Secretary Naig. “Through this program and funding support from Gov. Reynolds, we can help strengthen local food systems and help support farmers and schools who have been impacted by COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions.”

These grant opportunities support the purchase of Iowa-grown and raised food by offering funding to purchase protein and produce, as well as equipment and supplies needed to make this food accessible to children.

Equipment Grant for K-12 Schools

Iowa K-12 schools can apply to be reimbursed for some of the costs associated with purchasing kitchen equipment and supplies that allow the food service program to offer more fresh produce and protein sourced from Iowa farmers. For example, school kitchens may purchase food sealer machines, coolers, dicers, single portion containers, and grab-and-go food supplies. To be eligible for this grant, the school must also apply for the local food sub-grant (listed below).

Up to $160,000 will be allocated for these sub-grants. The funds will be divided amongst approved K-12 schools. Each approved applicant may receive up to $5,000, depending on the number of applicants. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Local Food Grant for All Iowa Schools

All Iowa schools, including K-12, colleges and universities and early care centers, can apply for the local food sub-grant. Approved schools will be reimbursed for a portion of the costs to purchase produce and protein from local farmers. At least half of the funds must be used to purchase fruits and vegetables. Produce, liquid and shelled eggs, and dairy products (excluding liquid milk) must be purchased directly from local producers, food hubs or food auctions. Meat and poultry products must be processed in-state or by a USDA-inspected meat locker.

Up to $220,000 will be allocated for these sub-grants. The funds will be divided amongst approved Iowa schools. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Equipment Grant for Producers and Food Hubs

Iowa specialty crop producers and food hubs can apply to be reimbursed for the purchase of supplies and equipment needed to serve their products in schools, colleges, universities and early care centers. Some examples of eligible purchases include refrigerated trucks, cold storage units, and boxes and packaging equipment. Producers must be willing to sell to schools and enroll in the Farm to School directory to be eligible.

Up to $110,000 will be allocated to support these sub-grants. The money will be divided amongst approved producers and food hubs. Each approved applicant may receive $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of approved applicants. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Eligible applicants can apply for the Local Produce and Protein Program grants online at www.iowaagriculture.gov/grants. Please contact Tammy Stotts, program administrator, with questions at 515.281.7657 or tammy.stotts@iowaagriculture.gov.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov