ODA awards $250K in Farm to School Grants
On Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced the selection of six awardees for the Farm to School Equipment and Infrastructure Grant Program. The grant helps Oregon farmers, ranchers, seafood harvesters, and food processors get more of their local products to children state wide, through programs such as National School Lunch Programs (NSLP), Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP), and approved Summer Food Service Programs (SFSP).
"We received a total of 36 applications requesting more than $2 million from all over the state,” said ODA, Director, Alexis Taylor. “Proposals included a variety of products, everything from tamales to fresh fruits and leafy greens. The awardees who were selected represent diverse nutritious products from across the state which our school children are sure to enjoy."
The $250,000 in grants was made possible by the Oregon Legislature. Chair of the Oregon House Agriculture and Land Use, Representative Brian Clem introduced and championed House Bill 2579 in 2019, which expanded the Farm to School Grant Program to include assistance with equipment and infrastructure. This would include business improvements such as: a new well to irrigate crops and extend the growing season; a commercial mixer to scale up production; or cold storage to improve the quality and freshness of storage crops. HB 2579 originally included $500,000 in grant funds, but due to the state’s economic downturn the grant program was reduced. Representative Clem worked with ODA, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, and legislative leadership to retain $250,000 for Farm to School equipment and infrastructure grants.
2020 Farm to School Equipment and Infrastructure Grant awardees:
Aichele Farms, Stanfield
School Expansion Project = $61,156
With the help of this grant, Aichele Farms will be able to make necessary upgrades to their cold storage facilities to extend the shelf life of fresh strawberries. The farm intends to sell to Morrow and Umatilla School Districts and increase the volume and frequency of sales to school lunch and summer meal programs in school districts west of the Cascades.
Ella Belle Farms, Talent
FSMA Food Safety Compliant Well and Water Treatment System = $19,393
Ella Bella Farm intends to sell tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, melons, corn, and squash to the Ashland School District and intends to sell to Central Point School District and other Southern Oregon school districts managed by Sodexo Food Service Management Company. This grant will help Ella Bella install a new well, pump house, and irrigation system necessary to obtain the food safety certification required by the school lunch programs.
Mama Tee Farm, Willamina
Season Extension Tunnels for Farm-to-School Vegetable Production =$14,436
Mama Tee Farm is a small and beginning, woman-owned diversified farm located in Willamina. Mama Tee’s will use this grant to install caterpillar tunnels to extend their growing season and provide fruits and vegetables for the Willamina School District.
Mudbone Grown LLC, Corbett
Feed’em Freedom to Farm = $68,386
Mudbone Grown LLC is a small and beginning, woman, BIPOC, and veteran-owned diversified vegetable farm located in Corbett. With season extension infrastructure, Mudbone Grown will be able to expand the diversity of the products they produce, including the use of aquaponics to scale leafy green and vegetable production. Mudbone Grown intends to provide fresh and minimally processed produce to Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Hall as part of their National School Lunch Program and KairosPDX, a Charter School in the Portland Public School System.
Out on a Limb Farm, Parkdale
Cody Orchards Farm Restoration Project = $18,608
Out on a Limb Farm is a small and beginning family orchard located in Parkdale. Out on a Limb Farm intends to sell cherries, pears, and peaches to the Hood River County School District and other area districts. The producer will install cold storage infrastructure to improve the quality and freshness of crops.
Tortilleria y Tienda De Leon, Gresham
Oregon Tamales for Oregon School Meals = $68,021
Tortilleria y Tienda De Leon is a family-owned business in Gresham. De Leon sells wholesale products such as burritos, salsas, deli sauces, and entrees to local retail stores. The company also has two years of experience selling whole grain tamales to more than 10 school districts in the state. De Leon will purchase an electric tamale mixer to keep up with increased demand for tamales in Oregon schools participating in the National School Meal Program.
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