Southwest Iowa schools get opportunity to expand farm to school programs

Schools in 12 counties in southwest Iowa are encouraged to apply to participate in a new farm to school agriculture education program hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs.

Five K-12 schools will be chosen to begin and/or reinvigorate agriculture education. The schools must be located in Monona, Crawford, Harrison, Shelby, Pottawattamie, Cass, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, Carroll, Audubon, or Page counties.

“Our goals are to increase access to agriculture and gardening skills for food production and to promote access to healthy, delicious locally grown foods for students and their families,” said Cait Caughey, Beginning Farmer and Market Associate with the Center.

Selected schools will receive technical assistance and support on food production and agriculture education through December 2023; farm to school curriculum resources; assistance with accessing Iowa local foods procurement programs; and grant writing assistance on school garden or greenhouse grants.

Monetary awards include: $2,000 mini grant for food production, garden, greenhouse, aqua/hydroponics; $200 for garden tools; $150 stipend for one teacher to attend the Iowa Farm to School Conference in June; $150 stipend for one teacher to attend the Southwest Iowa Local Foods Summit in fall 2023; $200 for one farmer speaker who grows fruits, vegetables, herbs, and/or livestock to visit the school and give a presentation.

There is no cost to apply; applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 14. Selected schools will be notified by May 15.

Applications will be evaluated based on school demographics and plan for food production, student involvement, community involvement, sustainability, teacher engagement, food service director collaboration, and creativity.

Visit for the application and for more information, or contact Caughey at 402.380.5192 or

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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