Kids aren’t getting nearly enough fruits and vegetables in their diets — we know that.
We also know that local farmers want more opportunities to sell their food products to institutions that are equipped to prep and cook unprocessed food items.
So, what can local government do to help solve those problems?
Kane County and the Illinois Farm to School Network have joined forces on an innovative idea — a new grant program for area schools and childcare institutions to obtain the resources they need to prepare fresh foods as part of a cafeteria service or other meal/snacking program.
Under the new School Food Service Kitchen Equipment Grant Program, schools and childcare institutions can receive up to $1,500 per site to purchase kitchen and food prep equipment. At least six sites will receive the award.
The application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17.
Applicants — Eligible applicants must be participants in the National School Lunch Program. Typical institutions would include schools / school districts, early childcare centers, and boarding facilities among others. Preference will be given to institutions operating in Kane County, but facilities in neighboring communities shall also be considered.
Expenses — Eligible grant expenses will be limited to equipment used for the preparation or storage of food items as part of an institutional food service or food garden program. Eligible equipment shall include durable goods / materials with a minimum expected lifespan of three to five years.
Grantee Requirements — Awarded grantees will be required to submit a brief report documenting the purchase and operation of equipment reflected in their proposals.
How To Apply
Interested applicants may download and complete an application for the School Food Service Kitchen Equipment Grant Program by clicking this link. Submission instructions are included in the application.
The selected grantees will be required to complete a kitchen audit of each facility in their proposal prior to receiving an award. The kitchen audits are intended to provide institutions and their food service managers with an on-site assessment of their capabilities for preparing and serving fresh foods.
The onsite audits will determine each facility’s kitchen equipment needs with recommendations for integrating new healthy food options in meal services. All audits will be conducted by a representative of the Illinois Farm to School Network.
Questions about the grant program can be directed to Matt Tansley, Kane County Planning Division, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any questions relating specifically to kitchen audits should be directed to Illinois Farm to School Programs Manager Diane Chapeta at email@example.com.
This program is being sponsored by the Food:Land:Opportunity initiative, a multi-year effort that aims to create a resilient local food economy that protects and conserves land and other natural resources while promoting market innovation and building wealth and assets in the Chicago region’s communities.
Funded through Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Food:Land:Opportunity is a collaboration between Kinship Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust.
SOURCE: Growing For Kane newsletter