Schools Receive State Department Garden, Taste Test Grants | Public and private schools

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has awarded 88 grants totaling $37,500 through the Arkansas School Garden Grant Program and the Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program.

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

The Arkansas School Garden Grant Program was created to help schools start or expand gardens on school grounds. The ministry will provide grants of $500 to schools for the purchase of soil, seeds and plants for specialty crops and gardening equipment. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture recognizes the following schools in southern Arkansas as recipients of the Arkansas School Garden Grant Program (* Recipients marked with an asterisk also received the grant program for Arkansas taste tests.)

Bright Beginnings Learning Center, Inc., Arkadelphia*

Drew Central Elementary, Monticello*

Genoa Central School District, Texarkana

Hope Academy of Civil Service, Hope

Monticello Middle School, Monticello

Monticello College, Monticello

Spring Hill High School, Hope

The Arkansas Taste Test Grant Program was created to help schools organize taste tests in cafeterias of locally grown specialty crops. The ministry will provide grants of $250 to schools to purchase kitchen equipment and utensils, utility equipment, and specialty crop seeds and plants. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has recognized these southern Arkansas schools as recipients of the Arkansas Taste Testing Grant Program:

Bright Beginnings Learning Center, Inc., Arkadelphia

Drew Central Elementary, Monticello

SAU Tech ABC Preschool, Camden

Farm-to-school grant programs were available for public and private K-12 schools, early childhood education settings, and alternative learning environments. In addition to funding, staff from the Farm to School Department and the Early Childhood Education Program will provide technical assistance to beneficiaries upon request. The grant programs were developed with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crops Block Grant Program to increase the production and consumption of specialty crops in schools. Special crops, as defined by the USDA, are fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops.

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