Wellmark Foundation grant
funds farm to school program in South Dakota
Grant, chosen from 150 requests, aims to improve the quality
of school food
January 24, 2011
(Des Moines, Iowa) – Dakota Rural
Action in Brookings will use a $115,110 two-year grant from
The Wellmark Foundation to develop the framework for a Farm
to School Program in South Dakota designed to improve nutritional
quality of school food and teach children the importance of
improved nutrition as a strategies to help prevent childhood
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks
to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their
communities. The Foundation provides support to non-profit
and public entities to help local communities establish or
expand health initiatives. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities
Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests.
This grant award to Dakota Rural Action represents one of
the 17 grants competitively awarded to support projects throughout
Iowa and South Dakota. Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation
is proud to award $1,334,817 to these 17 grants to serve as
catalyst funding for local health projects.
“The Wellmark Foundation selected the Farm to School
Program because Dakota Rural Action is a leader in developing
the farm-to-school framework,” says Matt McGarvey, the
Foundation’s director. “This program will improve
student nutrition and advance the promise of locally sourced
foods in our schools and communities.”
The goal of the project is to increase consumption of fresh,
healthy, locally produced foods in South Dakota schools and
to increase connections between schools and local food producers.
The project, which will be piloted in two school districts,
will increase the quality of children’s school lunches,
educate students about health and agriculture, and support
Goals include increasing school children’s knowledge
of gardening, agriculture, healthy eating, locally grown foods
and seasonality, increasing their willingness to try new foods
and healthy options, and increasing their consumption of fruits
and vegetables. The program will also strive to increase school
nutrition providers’ capacity to incorporate local foods
into their school lunch programs, and increase producers’
capacity to address food safety and liability issues in marketing
locally grown foods to schools.
The program will be expanded into additional school districts
throughout South Dakota following successful completion of
the two pilots. Dakota Rural Action will partner with the
National Farm to School Network, South Dakota Local Foods
Co-op, local producers and local school districts, which will
be selected early in 2011.
About Dakota Rural Action
Dakota Rural Action is a grassroots, family agriculture, and
conservation group. Dakota Rural Action members come from
all walks of life and serve as spokespeople who guide the
decisions of the organization through local chapters and statewide
committees. Dakota Rural Action works to advance family agriculture
and conserve and protect South Dakota's environment.
For more information on Dakota Rural Action and the Farm
to School Program, contact Frank James, (605) 697-5204 / email@example.com.
For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and
its grant programs, visit www.wellmark.com/foundation.