Awarded funds totaling $1.5 million under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill 2022-2023 Farm to School and Agriculture and Youth Grant programs were announced by Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding during the Farms to Families Immersion Lab at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in early January.
Youth organizations received over $1 million in ag and youth grants to support growth in the fields of agriculture, community leadership, vocational training, and peer fellowship.
To create chances for kids in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade to learn about agriculture and to promote access to wholesome, local foods, nearly $536,000 in Farm to School funds have been given out.
According to Redding, “Young people represent the future of Pennsylvania agriculture, and their teachers, programs, field trips, and access to fresh foods frame their relationship with and understanding of ag.”
By introducing kids to agriculture instruction and enhancing access to wholesome foods, this $1.5 million will pique their interest in farming.
To support and expand hundreds of farm-to-school programs, ag and youth programs, and other initiatives through the Farm Bill, Governor Tom Wolf has committed approximately $4 million since 2019.
The successful mobile ag lab of the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation will be upgraded thanks to $25,000 funding.
According to grant recipient Charlene Espenshade, executive director of Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, “This grant will help the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture replace one of our Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab Trailers.
“With the support of this funding, we can lower the cost of our program and maintain it accessible to all of the state’s schools. More than 1.5 million kids have learned about agriculture’s importance in daily life since this program’s launch nearly 20 years ago.
West Perry School District received $11,837 this round to advance with their fourth-grade program as they are in their third year of receiving funds from the Farm to School Grant Program.
The West Perry project aims to introduce children to area farms, educate agricultural science topics, and increase awareness of farming as a fascinating and rewarding job.
This is accomplished by educators working with the LEAF Project to create compelling and customized lesson plans for their classrooms and field trips.
The Farm to School funding and our collaboration with the LEAF initiative, among other things, have made it feasible for West Perry School District to engage children in learning science authentically, according to assistant superintendent Michele Dubaich.
The “Agriscience Adventures project” that will help our students and instructors will include resources and activities that address science standards and will be completed with a trip to The LEAF farm” in Landisburg.
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