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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is looking for proposals for two Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation grants that increase local purchasing in Farm to School programs. 

According to a news release from the department, school districts could receive a total of $748,000 to go towards purchasing Minnesota grown foods. 

The Farm to School First Bite Mini-Grant is intended for schools that have little to no experience with local procurement. The Farm to School Full Tray Grant is intended for school districts that have some experience. 

This year, applicants for both the First Bite and Full Tray grants may also apply for up to $25,000 for equipment purchases, in addition to funds for food. Both First Bite and Full Tray Grant applicants must match the equipment portion of their grant on a 1:1 basis. Schools may not apply only to fund equipment purchases.

The First Bite grant is intended to be an intentional learning process for the applicant. Recipients in FY2022 will not be eligible for the First Bite grant in subsequent funding rounds. School districts may apply for a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $5,000. There is no match required.

The Full Tray grants will be awarded to school districts that have experience purchasing Minnesota-grown and -raised products but want to expand their Farm to School programs. Applicants may apply for up to $35,000 based on the district size. Grants require a 1:1 match.

Applications for AGRI Farm to School First Bite and Full Tray Grants must be submitted by 4 p.m. Thursday, November 4, 2021.

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